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New Yorkers are (in)famous for holding their city in a rather high regard. Most people love their hometown, but only someone from the five boroughs has the audacity to call theirs the “center of the universe.” But one night of the year, at least, it’s difficult to dispute the claim. That night, of course, is the ultimate end to the calendar year, when eyes across the world fix a collective gaze upon Times Square for the dropping of the ball — the official ringing in of the New Year.

If you’ve never made it to the Big Apple on this very special evening, you’re missing out. No need for that. Because even in this late stage of the game, there are still a number of quality ways to place yourself in the center of it all. Consider these last-minute deals for where to play and stay your way into 2018.

LUMA Hotel Times Square

Times Square’s newest boutique hotel is a modern getaway complete with its own robotic butler service. On the big night, Ortzi — its Spanish-themed lobby bar and dining room — serves up a special party menu, including jamón carving stations, copious quantities of paella and table-side sherry service. And sangria. Lots of sangria. Most of the hotel’s high-rise rooms feature direct views of the ball, above the million-plus revelers gathered below. If you’re looking to ball out yourself, you can still book the $10,000 NYE Experience, which includes three nights in a top-level suite, a helicopter ride around the city, the Ortzi tasting menu and even a $2,000 shopping spree.

©Dylan Patrick Photography Inc.
©Dylan Patrick Photography Inc.

The Ritz-Carlton, Central Park

Keep it classy this new year with the Luxury Tasting Menu at the Ritz. The property’s stylish dining space, seated at the foot of Central Park, hosts a six-course affair for $195. Highlights include smoked duck, Beef Wellington and the restaurant’s signature multilayered white chocolate dome dessert. In addition to the meal — and the brand’s expected elegance — this specific real estate is especially alluring for its address. Central Park South is conveniently located in the very heart of Midtown, yet just far enough away from Times Square (about 15 blocks), to reserve yourself some breathing room.

The Knickerbocker’s Ultimate New Year’s Eve Experience

If you really need to be in the thick of it all, it’s high time to book your ticket to the closest view of the live ball-drop available in the world. The historic Knickerbocker Hotel is located on 42nd Street, a literal stone’s throw from the Waterford crystal-covered orb in question. All-inclusive guest packages range from the Bronze tier up to Platinum, and will guarantee you space upon the hotel’s rooftop bar, from 8pm until 2am. It’ll cost you, of course. The most affordable rate still available is the “Superior Room King Bed,” at $3,799 for the overnight.

New Year’s Eve at Spring & Varick

If you’re more comfortable wandering New York neighborhoods beyond Times Square, Lower Manhattan is full of action. An evening-long bar crawl along Houston Street is always an option. But why not consider one of the area’s endless all-inclusives? A prime example is this hotel bar in the heart of SoHo: For $250 each guest is treated to a five-course tasting menu, designed by chef John Creger, along with five hours of open bar and endless “party favors.” As the zero hour nears, festivities push out and over to the adjoining Mr. Jones bar for a Champagne toast.

Hudson’s Dinner Cruise

For nautical-loving night-goers, the obvious choice is a scenic cruise peering into the heart of Times Square from the Hudson River. This is truly a three-hour tour to remember, including dinner, a live DJ and an open bar. After the ball drops, you’ll have unparalleled views of the ensuing fireworks above the harbor, with Lady Liberty looming proudly overhead. The ride departs out of Hudson’s at Pier 81 and tickets are still available for just under $500 a head.

Out with the old, in with the new and a very happy and healthy 2018 to you and yours.

Know before you go.

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