The ball doesn’t drop until midnight, obviously, but the celebration starts hours earlier. To get a good view of the ball drop, people start showing up as early as noon. Police start setting up barricades at 3 p.m., and the ball is raised to the top of the flagpole at 6 p.m.
The ball is lowered at One Times Square, and can best be seen from Broadway, between 43rd Street and 50th Street, and along Seventh Avenue, as far north as 59th Street. No tickets are necessary, but you may be barred from entering the blocked off area if you arrive too late and it’s already full.
Although champagne is an important part of the New Year’s Eve tradition, the Times Square celebration is not an exception from the New York law against drinking in public. So if you want to drink, do it before you arrive — or do it clandestinely.
For more information, check out the official event website.