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The Times Square ball drop in New York City is back — but people don't seem to care

Nov. 17, 2021
4 min read
The Times Square ball drop in New York City is back — but people don't seem to care
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New York City will once again bring in the new year in a big way: The infamous Times Square ball drop.

But before you don your coat, gloves and stand in the freezing cold with tens of thousands of other humans, know that the annual ball drop will look a little different this year. Amid the ongoing pandemic, New York City will require people attending the New Years' Eve festivities in Times Square to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced.

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Revelers 5 years old or over must present proof of a COVID-19 vaccination approved by the FDA or World Health Organization to enter. People unable to be vaccinated because of a disability must show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to the event, and they'll also be required to wear a mask.

“We want to welcome all those hundreds of thousands of folks, but everyone needs to be vaccinated,” de Blasio said. “Join the crowd, join the joy, join a historic moment as New York City provides further evidence to the world that we are 100% back.”

The ball drop will conclude a year that saw New York City fully reopen back to residents and tourists. De Blasio said back in April it would be “the summer of New York City,” and there would be no restrictions on restaurants, shops, businesses or theaters. Broadway officially returned at full capacity in September. Restaurants and bars also reopened, first with capacity limits and then with fewer restrictions. And subway ridership has been steadily hitting the over 3 million passenger mark (but is still down compared to pre-pandemic days).

However, the city has also faced its share of setbacks, largely due to the highly-transmissible delta variant.

For instance, New York City became the first U.S. city to mandate proof of vaccination for indoor dining as a result of the variant. It also faced backlash from city employees for its vaccination requirement. (According to de Blasio, the New York City Police Department will take the lead on verifying COVID-19 vaccination credentials, even as the force pushed back on a vaccination mandate for city workers.)

But even with the annual celebration coming back in person, people largely don’t seem to care. When I asked several of my TPG colleagues whether they’d attend — even those outside of the New York metro area — the vast majority responded with aversion.

“I think even the people who say they enjoy it don’t actually enjoy it,” TPG senior reporter David Slotnick responded.

Other staffers say there are logistical issues to contend with.

“The lack of access to a bathroom really makes it a non-starter for me, but I do like cheesy stuff like that,” said TPG reporter Caroline Tanner.

If watching the ball drop from the center of Times Square is absolutely not on your bucket list, there are other ways to watch the festivities up close (and out of the elements). Here are several hotel options with prime views — some of which can offer a great value to travelers who can use points to avoid the inflated holiday rates.

Featured image by (Photo by boneman/Twenty20)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
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  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees