Watch NYC ball drop free

Celebrations will go on in New York’s Times Square, which will allow about 15,000 people in designated viewing areas, as opposed to the normal 58,000, the Associated Press reports. Performers this year (who haven’t dropped out yet) include Journey and KT Tunstall—and the city’s incoming mayor, Eric Adams, will be sworn in there shortly after midnight (in lieu of his recently postponed indoor inauguration ceremony). 

This is the second year in a row that COVID-19 restrictions have put a damper on the ceremonial dropping of the ball, but fortunately you can still ring in 2022 from the comfort of your living room and stream the festivities live on your TV, computer, or phone. Here’s how: 

Official Times Square Webcast

This live stream from the Times Square Alliance—which organizes the official ball-dropping ceremony—is free and easy to access. The lighting and raising of the ball begin at 6 p.m. ET (full schedule here), and the countdown begins 60 seconds before midnight.

Watch coverage on a cable or TV network

Most television networks are offering their own coverage of New Year’s Eve, although some have canceled—notably the Fox network, which has decided not to go through with its “New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast,” due to the latest wave of COVID-19. Others will continue their usual dispatches from various locations, including Times Square. Here’s a roundup of some of the most popular broadcasts:

  • ABC: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest (start time: 8 p.m. ET)
  • NBC: Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party (start time: 10:30 p.m. ET)
  • CNN: New Year’s Eve with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen (start time: 8 p.m. ET)

Below are some of the most popular bundled streaming platforms. You may need to sign in with a pay-TV service before you can stream some of these programs live.

If you’re a new customer, you might be able to get a free promotional week with one of the above services. Make sure you check your zip code first to see which channels are available in your area. Of course, if you have an old-fashioned OTA antenna, you can watch the broadcast networks for free . . . like they did in the old days. Happy New Year!