There are many waypoints worthy of a stop on New Year’s Eve. The needle pegged at the furthest is Times Square NYC—an orgiastic explosion of energy. Back down near the other side is a quiet celebration at home with friends and family, said ball-dropping madness on the tv. Ranging in between is the selection of happenings across our Island, occasionally couched in an elegant overnight stay. The question is: Where will you make your champagne toast?
Dinner and Dancing
Palm Court Restaurant and Wine Cellar
Eisenhower Park, (516) 542-0700, thecarltun.com
Palm Court is formal in a capital sense of the word. Nestled in Nassau’s 930-acre parkland, the former mansion is a place of sumptuous columns and moldings, white glove, white tablecloth, white everything. Some first-class Continental-New American cuisine takes center stage along with what is considered one of the best wine lists in the world. Sit in the sumptuous main dining room or among the priceless vintages in The Wine Cellar itself, either way expect the exquisite. The late seating ($125pp) coincides with midnight.
Editor’s pick: A “man’s place,” that stays on this side of machismo!
Carle Place, (516) 334-6125 chateaubriandcaterers.com
The Scottos open their golden age Art Deco-styled facility to a plethora of parties on this one extravagant night. A live band holds court in one room while DJs spin in each of the three others. Times are staggered, but 9ish to 2ish covers the entire evening. One ticket affords entrée into all the parties. Guests need not choose one personality for the evening, float among them all. A pure experience of New Year’s Eve: Blasting tunes, bites and libations, plenty of dancing and a certain Scottish song about old acquaintances. $150pp, except late night DJ ($99pp)
The Inn at New Hyde Park
(516) 354-7797, innatnhp.com
This year The Inn’s dance party (8pm-1:30am, $135pp) will reverberate with the sounds of the Times Square Orchestra, a brassy dance band. Surf and turf and open bar provide the proper full stomach and gaiety to the proceedings. At their Brasserie 214 restaurant, the Rockaholics, a tight (you guessed it) rock combo accompanies lauded European bistro eats ($85pp). Live Times Square simulcast. Reservations required.
Southampton Social Club
(631) 287-1400 southamptonsocialclub.com
The Hamptons club scene awakens from its slumber and encapsulates all the in-season decadence here. SSC has drawn crowds to the tony village for a couple of seasons now, the understated white-walled luxury indoors focusing attention on the revelry that is Hamptons chic. It’s booming on New Year’s Eve with two DJs and Times Square coverage. Lord over the proceedings by choosing the Platinum Package ($200pp, seatings begin at 7pm) and have a four course sit-down feast presented by executive chef Scott Kampf accompanied by premium vodka, champagne and an exclusive bottle menu. Cast iron-seared foie gras with wild berry gastrique and balsamic reduction plus filet mignon and butter-poached lobster tail are just the beginning. Proper attire required. Call restaurant or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets.
NYE on The Sea
It’s a kind of private party room on the waters surrounding Manhattan—but in the center of it all, with primo views of the midnight fireworks display (weather permitting). The bar/buffet/DJ formula applies out here too, but the event areas are subject to the boat’s space limitations. Dramamine optional. Some favored cruises include Affairs Afloat, Cabana Yacht and Jewel Yacht. Check websites for details.
Have a Thrill Then Chill
Wading River, (631) 929-3500, eastwindlongisland.com
A celebration in two parts: Revelry on 12/31 and r&r on 1/1. East Wind combines party space with accommodations and spa out on the airy North Fork. The ballroom will be the venue for the New Year’s Eve Gala, with buffet repast, open bar and DJ Tommy’s Tunes. The spa offers relaxation and rejuvenation treatments for both genders to begin day one of 365 with a clear head. Overnight stay and tickets for two, $495pp; for just the gala, $115pp. Book as far in advance as possible, tickets and rooms sell quickly.
The Garden City Hotel
(516) 747-3000, gardencityhotel.com
A 19th century grand dame of a hotel and centerpiece for the original town. Elegance is spoken here and many a moneyed VIP has passed through her doors. The celebration options befit the elevated surroundings. The ballroom buffet and party ($722pp) puts you smack-dab in the gilded epicenter of it all and includes a room. Or ensconce in their newly opened Polo Steakhouse and snap fingers to a jazz trio at $50pp.
The Inn at Fox Hollow & Rare650
Woodbury, (516) 921-1415, theinnatfoxhollow.com
Syosset, (516) 496-8000, rare650.com
The party and the early morning aftermath are in two distinct environments on the doorstep of the Gold Coast. Accommodations are at The Inn at Fox Hollow and its sister steak and sushi hotspot Rare650 is the destination of the round-trip shuttle. Booking includes access to the restaurant’s entire menu, though its specialties (two guesses at what they are) are a sure bet. The Inn is based on the English neoclassical country estate mold set upon eight acres of Gilded Age-like levels of landscaping. Within is the included luxury suite sporting spa showers and deep soaking tubs. Emerge reborn for breakfast and whatever the year may bring. Call for prices.
The Living Room, c/o the Maidstone
East Hampton, (631) 324-5006 careofhotels.com/maidstone
Expect a fun, funky party at this comfortable but lively Scandinavian-styled hotel and restaurant. The mellow atmosphere of bold color motifs in whimsical shapes or traditional florals is the venue for some dynamite slow food eats in The Living Room. A lively band is the soundtrack for the six-course New Year’s Eve gala-style dinner ($125pp) of lobster, foie gras terrine, Long Island duck breast along with truffles and Hamptons Coffee for dessert. Get 50 percent off a room stay with the dinner and contemplate 2014 (or quietly nurse a recovery) in the stately Buddha Garden the next day. Specifically pre-book the New Year’s Eve menu; offer only applies to late seating, between 8:30pm and 10:30pm.
NYC: The Center of the New Year’s Eve Universe
Crank up the speedometer in Manhattan. Give it a try at least once—it’s right down the road. Claustrophobes need not apply, for obvious reasons. Options are spoken here, from techno-bumping mega-club to pseudo-hunting lodges. Newyearsevecentral.com is a comprehensive source for details and tickets. Prices are based on availability, buy now or pay through the nose later (or miss out). A few of our favored experiences (with tix available on the website) include unique surrounds.
Families in the Mix
The obvious destination is the ball drop, but the kids may not be up for being out in the cold. Times Square itself contains hundreds of locations swept up in the moment. AMC Times Square is a movie and entertainment complex with six levels of parties. A great (safe) introduction to 2014 partying is the 13-and-up non-alcoholic NYE Family Fun Fest, but the Top Of The World VIP Room and terrace is the place to be for a prime vantage point of that giant Waterford Crystal orb descending. Madame Tussauds turns the wax celeb-filled exhibition space into an “in-the-middle-of-it-all” bash that feels like a star-studded event.
Manhattan’s rich history provides a host of restored and repurposed banks from the 19th and 20th centuries that immerse the partier in a bigger-than-life experience. Capitale, on Bowery, is a cavernous Stanford White-designed Beaux Arts masterpiece reminiscent of Venetian architecture. Gotham Hall in Herald Square (adjacent to Macy’s) is in the majestic arc of an ancient temple. Both celebrations will be large in scope (putting it lightly) and thoroughly 21st century. Expect the crowds to be glamorous.
New Year’s Day
There’s no way to see everyone between December 1st and 31st, either they’re too busy or you are. Do yourself, and all your favorite people, a solid and host a New Year’s Day brunch. Open your home to friends and family to come and go as they please between 11am and 2pm on the 1st. It’ll be a chance to really catch up and makes for a nice touchstone to start the year with. Be wise, hire a caterer (or else be flipping omelets all day). Keep it casual: Encourage robes, slippers, etc. Be fizzy: Serve hard ciders in addition to champagne.
All the food and revelry of a typical New Year’s party plus the allure of the tables. Tonight is the night for baccarat, roulette, craps or blackjack, ideally on the arm of an elegantly dressed gentleman or lady.
Resorts World Casino New York City
Jamaica, Queens, rwnewyork.com
A sampling of what the big guns have to offer right in our backyard with two NYC-themed levels of gaming perfect for the fun-loving yet conservative gamblers. Serious players should make a beeline for the private Baccarat Club on the Fifth Avenue Casino level—high-limit only, please. The groove will be brought by a live disco band on the big night and the circular hotspot Bar/Club 360, is sure to be pumping.
Mashantucket, CT, foxwoods.com
One ferry ride from Orient Point and 10 miles later is a gaming Mecca. Over 350 tables of all the favorites, but poker aficionados should make reservations immediately to get the experience of The Foxwoods Poker Room, a 100-table behemoth conducting multiple tournaments a day alongside some of the world’s top players. The payouts ain’t bad either. In addition to DJ dance parties, they are putting on the 2014 Comix Countdown for New Year’s at the Comix at Foxwoods venue, culminating in The Dueling Pianos, a fiery and funny excursion on the keys. Warning: You may get called up onstage.
Uncasville, CT, mohegansun.com
Getting a first glimpse of the hulking 34-story hotel tower conveys the scope of Mohegan. The three casinos (Earth, Sky and Wind), spas, shops and ballrooms are all ranked as the biggest in the area. And there’s quite a bit of entertainment and relaxation, to say the least. The largest of the many New Year’s Eve celebrations on the premises is Cirque Celebration in Mohegan Sun Arena, a family-friendly display of superhuman acrobatics.
How the Pulse Staff Gets the Party Rockin’
Pulse people enjoy the big night in the center of a month-long sabbatical away from the office. A few had some creative ideas to share…
For the past two years I’ve rented a house/old b&b up near Hunter Mountain with 25 or more people. There was a lot for non-skiers to do during the day (eateries, bookstores, tubing on the mountain, bar at the lodge) while the rest of the crowd hit the slopes. We had a Gatsby-themed party on the big night, a reason to add to the fun with costumes.
Emily McCarthy, Graphic Designer
The most fun, fabulous New Year’s Eve I’ve had was when I took my family away. Ringing in the New Year on a lit-up cruise ship was a blast, as was partying with thousands of people in the middle of nowhere, having all the food choices at hand and not having to be in charge of the festivities!
Caroline Wilkes, contributor
The Paramount building in NYC is a hop, skip and 30,000’ plummet away from where the ball drops. And there are balconies overlooking the sea of people below in Times Square. I made new friends, laughed my ass off, got serious for a minute talking about life and resolutions and then laughed again. When it came close to 12, we each grabbed a champagne bottle walked onto the balcony and stared at the glorious lights coming from One Times Square. 10: The crowd started to scream… 9… 8… By this time I was jumping up and down, in complete awe of the glistening ball as it moved… 3… 2… Holy crap here it comes… 1! HAPPY NEW YEAR! Kisses and hugs exchanged, rainbow colored confetti fell from the sky and I was struck by how beautiful some of the simplest things can be.
Rebecca Canese, Graphic Designer
Musical performances on New Year’s Eve inevitably include fanfare at midnight. After all this is the evening for a little extra verve to the performance. Below are some of the bigger shows, but venues all over the area will be hosting groups at all decibel levels.
Billy Joel/Ben Folds Five
Piano Man plays his greats and the great piano-led trio opens.
Tickets: $81-239, show begins at 9:30pm
Radio City Music Hall
The Jazzy r&b songstress will perform songs from her new album The Light of the Sun plus fan faves.
Tickets: $86-286, show begins at 9pm
Long Island Philharmonic
A Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway Celebration.
Tickets: $58-122, show begins at 7:30pm
Wynton Marsalis Septet
Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center
Probably the best straight jazz being played in the area on New Year’s Eve. Includes sit-down dinner.
Tickets: $550, show starts at 11pm
We’ll admit it, sometimes the standard 12/31 parties can get predictable, but there is hope. Experience something completely different from the norm:
A Brisk Jaunt
Join the ranks of the path-blazing New York Road Runners at their annual four-mile Midnight Run (for fun) in Central Park, starting with a fireworks display at the stroke of midnight. There will be a costume parade/contest bacchanal beforehand, expect to be running alongside a Statue of Liberty or other characters.
Big Apple Circus: Luminocity
Lincoln Center Damrosch Park
While mom and dad get ready and get going to the party, this vintage nugget of live entertainment is the perfect way for grandma and grandpa to spend time with the munchkins. Just look out for the FlimFlam man. 12:30pm for the youngest and 9:30pm for the older kids.
Murray Hill’s Annual Variety Show
The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn
“Mr. Showbiz” or “The Hardest Working Middle-Aged Man in Show Business” is a comedy legend and the evening’s host. Expect lots of singing, dancing and performance art, emphasis on bawdy.
A New Year’s Eve centered on a dizzying array of spirits enjoyed at a staggering number of drinking establishments—it’ll be a fun night. Moving around introduces you to new people as you change venues, but still continue to enjoy the company of friends. Pub-crawling is also ideal to avoid the dreaded third wheel situation—everyone’s partying together. Accommodations recommended for afterwards and definitely hire a car service to keep the party moving safely. Check out pubcrawls.com’s Official New Year’s Eve PubCrawl NYC, which touts quite a few drink specials across Manhattan. Registration will take place at Bar None (98 3rd Avenue).