New Year's Eve 2012 for New York City Kids: Ways to Celebrate with the Whole Family
Whether your kids can make it until midnight or not, there are lots of fun ways to celebrate New Year's Eve in NYC with the entire family.
We've rounded up some of the most promising ways to ring in 2013 family-style, from free bike rides and fireworks, to swanky (and admittedly expensive) Times Square parties.
Here are ways you and your kids can count down to the New Year in New York City.
For kids who can stay up until midnight
New Year's Eve Fireworks in Prospect Park – Prospect Heights
This annual free Brooklyn celebration is our pick to ring in 2013—assuming it doesn't rain or drop way below freezing. The event kicks off at 11pm with live entertainment and hot refreshments, followed by a dazzling fireworks show at midnight. Best viewing spots include Grand Army Plaza, inside the Park on the West Drive, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street. Or find a friend with a nearby rooftop!
Big Apple Circus: Legendarium – Upper West Side
Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park, 62nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue
We've been recommending the troupe's ongoing show since we reviewed it back in November. On New Year's Eve, families are treated to an extra-special performance with a champagne (or cider) toast and a circus-style countdown to midnight.
Emerald Nuts Midnight Run – Upper East Side
Starts at the Central Park Bandshell, enter the park at Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street
In advance: $60 for adults, $25 for children; day of: $65 for adults, $35 for children
A great way to start working off those extra holiday pounds, this noncompetitive run for ages 5 and up is an offbeat, only-in-NYC way to welcome 2013. There's dancing at 10pm, a costume contest at 11pm and fireworks at midnight that kick off the actual run. If you're not the sneakers type, you and the kids can just come for the free pre-run fun, and then head back home. Happens rain or shine. Although you can register the day-of, it's best to do it in advance. It's less expensive and you'll save yourself a last-minute trip to the New York Road Runners' office to pick up your registration and number.
New Year's Eve Bike Ride – Greenwich Village to Central Park
Meet under the Arch at Washington Square Park, Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North
Families can join this free Time's Up ride from Washington Square Park to Belvedere Castle in Central Park. Dress is festive and bring noisemakers and party favors. After the ride, you are rewarded with an outdoor party filled with music, dancing and fireworks (yes, these are the same festivities the runners enjoy). If your kids can't cycle that far, there are alternate Manhattan pick up points. Best for children ages 10 and up on their own bikes, all ages if they're in a bike seat.
It's not the place we would want to party on December 31, but if that's where you want to ring in 2013 with your family, a number of neighborhood spots are throwing high-end celebrations that accommodate the under 21 crowd. Five of them are right on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.
Dave & Buster's New Year's Eve Party includes a buffet, dancing, video games and a five-hour open bar (alcohol for parents, nonalcoholic beverages for kids).
At Madame Tussauds, you can groove to a live DJ, hang out in themed rooms and more.
AMC Theatre Times Square has PG-13 movies all night, plus dancing.
Ripley's Times Square has fire breathers, a laser race, stilt walkers, magic acts, balloon sculpting and face-painting in addition to the ubiquitous DJ and hors d'œuvres.
Admission ranges from not as bad as you might expect to totally insane. Visit the respective websites for complete info. We've never been to any of these shindigs, but they have to be better than braving the Times Square crowds outside.
For kids who can't stay up late
All of the children's museums have special activities planned, which are free with regular admission. At the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the preschool set can help with a collaborative New Year’s Wish Mural, and decorate hats and noisemakers. At the Children's Museum of Manhattan, children can create "wish wands" at the Grinch's Holiday Workshop in honor of the holiday. Finally, the Staten Island Children's Museum is throwing a New Year’s Eve bash, with live tunes by children's musician Patrick Rafferty, dancing and treats.
Five Manhattan BR Guest restaurants—Atlantic Grill East, Bill’s Bar & Burger in Rockefeller Center and the Meatpacking District, Wildwood BBQ and Isabella's—are hosting afternoon fetes from 2 to 6pm complete with apple cider toasts, face painting, balloons and special family menus. Prices vary so call each restaurant for exact details.
Or you can join me and my fellow Mommy Poppins' blogger Stephanie and our kids at Bowlmor Lanes Union Square for three hours of unlimited bowling and finger foods. My family and I went last year and we had so much fun, my daughter asked if we could go again. (My one complaint: The buffet food wasn't off Bowlmor's usual delicious menu, and was only so-so.) Plum District is running a deal on it right now for $25, which expires on Christmas Day.