Your New Year’s Eve bash doesn’t have to be a bore just because there’s no indoor dining and health officials warn against large group gatherings. The technology readily available in the 21st century makes it easy to ring in 2021 in style.
Although there will be no crowds at the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop, that doesn’t mean you can only watch the action from your TV this year. Organizers of the world-famous ball drop are offering a virtual, “gameified” version of the event that you can witness through your smartphone or laptop called VNYE, or Virtual New Year’s Eve.
Users will create an avatar — a virtual body so to speak — that can visit the 2020 Remembrance Hall, play games, look out over a virtual observation deck to watch concerts from some of this year’s hottest artists, and at the end of the night collect virtual confetti that earns them points to customize their avatars.
Another cool feature will be the ability to tune into 11 different camera feeds of New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world, including one on the International Space Station. At midnight, virtual fireworks will explode on your device’s screen.
To take part in the virtual festivities, download the app by visiting nye2021.com on your smartphone or laptop. Check the website for a schedule of events.
YouTube will also be featuring its own NYE bash on its website with prerecorded performances by artists across every genre, and appearances from pop culture icons. The free event starts at 10:30 p.m. EST at YouTube.com.
If you’re looking for something a little more personal, it’s easy enough to set up your own virtual NYE extravaganza. Here’s a quick guide on how to organize a virtual party for all your family and friends.
Once you’ve created your guest list, find a teleconference app that works for everyone. Zoom has become popular in workplace culture, but unless you have an account with the company your time on the app can be limited. Google Hangouts are free and accessible to anyone with a webcam.
Whichever app you choose, copy the invitation link and send it to everyone on your list. Like any party you’ll also need some fun and games. Think outside the box with this one — have everyone pick up a few bottles of wine or champagne and do a virtual tasting event; host a scavenger hunt where the winner receives a prize; play charades; or cook a meal together.
There are also tons of virtual games that can be played by multiple users available online, which can be viewed by everyone simply by having one person click “share screen.” [This will be somewhere at the bottom of your screen]. Most of these games will require the use of a smartphone as a controller, but they provide hours of fun.
If you’re still itching to get out of the house Dec. 31, EliteFeats — a running-centric events company — will be hosting a 5K run in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. To comply with social distancing guidelines, there will only be two waves of runners capped at 50 per wave. The first wave, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m., has already sold out but there are still tickets left for the 7 p.m. one.
Or you could do the 5K virtually and on your own time — you’ll still get a runner’s bib, finisher medal and NYE swag (yes, including a mask). The fee to participate is $40, and all proceeds will benefit the Never Stop Running Foundation, which supports various charities that foster community involvement. Visit events.elitefeats.com/nye20 for more information or to register.
However you celebrate New Year’s Eve, be sure to be safe and responsible.