The new year may be on its way, but for the second year in a row, the revelry will be subdued: Fireworks spectaculars and celebrations are being canceled all over the world as the omicron variant sends new coronavirus cases skyrocketing.
“If your plans are to go to a 40-to-50-person New Year’s Eve party with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a happy new year? I would strongly recommend that this year we do not do that,” Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said Wednesday.
But a few high-profile shows are still going on, and making it possible for people spending the holiday at home to partake virtually. These New Year’s Eve festivities will be streamed live — in their own time zones, of course.
For those on the East Coast of the United States who want to dedicate a full day to celebrating, the party can start as early as 5 a.m. Friday — or 9 p.m. Sydney time. That’s when the Australian city sets off its “welcome to country” fireworks and light projections. The finale follows at midnight, or 8 a.m. on the East Coast, with pyrotechnics launching from barges, the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The city is selling tickets for viewing spots in person, but for everyone else, the events will be streamed here.
The Hong Kong New Year Countdown Concert starts at 10 p.m. local time, or 9 a.m. on the East Coast, with performances by local musicians and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. The South China Morning Post reports that there will be no fireworks, but a countdown to 2022 will include “lights and celebratory visuals lighting up the harbor,” according to Forbes. Attendees were chosen in a draw last month, but the event will also be available to view on the Discover Hong Kong YouTube channel.
United Arab Emirates
A 12-minute fireworks show extending over nearly three miles in Ras Al Khaimah promises to be “one of the largest and longest” in the United Arab Emirates. The emirate promises more than fireworks on its event website: “Think tech-first brilliance, sparkling across the night sky. A masterful array of colorful expression like you’ve never seen before.” The show at midnight — or 3 p.m. East Coast time — will also be streamed online.
New York City
The famed ball drop in New York’s Times Square will still go on, the city said last week, but with fewer people. Viewing areas that can usually hold 58,000 people will be limited to 15,000; everyone must be fully vaccinated and masked. Festivities start at 6 p.m. with the raising of the ball, performances, video presentations and finally the 60-second countdown before midnight. Events will be televised and streamed on the official Times Square website and social media pages.
The city is throwing a New Year’s Eve Blast — its largest ever — with midnight fireworks on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. (That’s 1 a.m. on the East Coast.) The Associated Press reported that city officials planned the event to include multiple ways to watch the display outdoors or at home for health and safety reasons. The show will be available to view at WGNTV.com/Live.
Fireworks will be back at the Space Needle this year, but the base of the attraction will be closed to crowds and revelers are encouraged to watch from home or parties scattered around the city. Those who watch on TV or online will see special effects in addition to the live pyrotechnics. The midnight — or 3 a.m. Eastern — event will stream on king5.com.
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