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No crowd, but the Times Square ball drop is still happening. Here’s how.

Every December, the eyes of the world are drawn to New York City, where a shiny crystal ball in Midtown Manhattan marks a racist opportunity for a fresh start. Hundreds of thousands gather in person; Pause for a moment to join the annual ceremony and millions more watch on TV.

With some excitement and anticipation, they turn their eyes to Times Square and begin to think, starting

In March, as the epidemic spread across New York City, the teams responsible for the New Year’s Eve ball fall in Times Square realized that things were unlikely to continue as planned.

At the center of Times Square’s appeal was a business Broadway Stopping For months. Large gatherings were banned indefinitely, and many major city events were already eliminated. Rumors were flying around on Twitter that the authorities might lock up the city.

The organizers knew that canceling the festivities would be disastrous. New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square has become a symbol of growing and vibrant New York City and has been at the center of the holiday for decades.

A few months before this year’s celebration, it seemed that that collective ritual, one of the few remaining in the increasingly divided community, might be threatened.

Tim Tomkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said organizers were determined to reduce the ball from its perch above the city. Whether they planned a celebration or not, they also knew that people would come to the area as they had been for over a century.

It is not clear how the makers of the event will adapt other habits of the night – shows, meetings and confetti – to the reality of the epidemic.

“We know we have to be ready for a meeting,” he said. Tompkins said. “And then it’s like, ‘Oh my God, how are we going to do this?’

After months of planning, an answer emerged. This year, for the first time in decades, Times Square will be closed to the public on New Year’s Day. Only manufacturing workers and selected lead workers and their families will be allowed near the stage.

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On Wednesday, police officers urged the public to stay at home.

“No spectators are allowed in Times Square,” said Chief Terence A., a member of the Chief Uniform. Monahan told a news conference.

“Don’t try to get there and see it,” he said.

As it does every year, the city closes streets in the area, and police officers run checkpoints to block access. But instead of allowing visitors to drip, all uninvited guests will be turned away, with pedestrians starting Thursday at 3 p.m. Chief Monahan said there would be 80 percent fewer officers in the police force than there would be on a normal New Year’s Day in Times Square.

“Anyone who starts collecting will be asked to go with them,” he said. “We’re not going to let people stand on the street corner and stare.”

Eight-foot pens will be placed at intervals in the community distance from the streets. They will have 40 workers who were invited to bring their families to celebrate and keep the city and country running safely and smoothly during the dark hours of the year.

On the guest list is a pediatrician at Elmhurst Hospital, which was a general hospital Drowned by infection; Pizza delivery driver infected with corona virus; And Ronald Colbert, Staten Island boat operator, who will attend the ball fall in his 40th Times Square.

“I am very honored and happy,” he said. Colbert, 66, worked through the epidemic. “Elements of the excitement that Times Square provides – I’ll share it again.”

Avenue will not be crowded with people trying to see the outdoor music show being staged according to state and industry guidelines for safe music productions.

This year’s music guests include Gloria Keiner’s “I Will Survive”, a disco classic reappearing as a plague, as well as performances by Jennifer Lopez, Billy Porter and Cindy Lapper.

There will be footsteps for the television workers who broadcast the billboards of Times Square across the country. For those who are stuck at home, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rock’s Eve with Ryan Secret” will still rock on ABC. In a year without party buzz, Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen will once again present their New Year’s Eve friend comedy performances on CNN.

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Television networks will present the image of Times Square transformed by the epidemic, without a crowd of spectators in glossy gear waiting in the cold for hours to take part in a national show.

However, the head of Countdown Entertainment, which co-produced the Times Square event, said Mr. Both Tompkins and Jeff Strauss said it was important for them to have some sort of audience if circumstances allowed.

“You have an energy from seeing others happy,” Mr. Strauss said.

In the spring, when the epidemic devastated New York City, a photoshoot Empty Times Square Became a fierce monument. The deserted plaza became one A lasting picture of the crisis And visual acronym for viral disaster situations.

With the completion of 2020 and the restoration of the calendar, both hoped to be able to give a fresh start and a new story to one of the world’s most famous crossroads.

“We want to show a city with a heartbeat,” Mr. Strauss said. “A city that is more alive.”

Months ago, in July, Mr. Strauss and Mr. Tompkins received the first indication that a celebration similar to those years was possible.

Times Square has been the site of major New Year’s celebrations since 1904, with hundreds of thousands of people gathering in Midtown Manhattan to watch the fireworks illuminate the newly built New York Times building, now known as One Times Square.

The ball was first dropped in 1907. After that, it was reduced to New Year’s Day Almost every year, With gaps only in 1942 and 1943 “Timeouts” related to World War II The lights must be turned off to protect against air strikes.

But the look is huge, even without the ball Still crowded One of the more muted celebrations described in the Times in Times Square “Different quality” In the first year but Next is “Care” and “Big”.

However, there is no guarantee that energy will be available. Although the organizers continued to plan, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. They watched nervously as Cumo canceled.

However, in July, the city worked with Macy to reschedule its annual fireworks display.

Mr. Strauss and Mr. For Tompkins, keeping people safe in the city was a clear signal that city officials were determined to preserve New York City heritage.

Other events also helped to prove that the changed New Year celebration is possible. Strauss said.

The MTV Video Music Awards Provided a template for concerts. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Visitors welcome measured tradition, and Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lights Proved that large-scale events can occur safely in the midst of an outbreak of epidemics.

Viewers of this year’s New Year’s Eve festivities, whether on TV or through the official online webcast, should expect a more intimate viewing experience, Mr. Strauss said. (People looking for something deeper can do the same Download the app It uses magnified reality to bring Times Square home.)

The blocks around Times Square will be used for this year’s celebration, which is a much smaller track than usual. That diminished volume will be clear on camera, Mr. Strauss said. The blocks will be printed with great displays showing the longest street party. Close ones will not show a smile, Mr. Strauss said, because the faces will be covered.

“We want to show Times Square physically far away,” Mr. Strauss said. We like to show the masked Times Square. ”

For the first time in 26 years, Mr. Strauss will not be in Times Square, raining confetti when the clock strikes midnight.

In a break from tradition, he will be watching on TV with most of the country as he calculates the end of a brutal year and creates a new beginning the next day