NYPD steps up security ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square

Joe Torres Image
Tuesday, December 26, 2023
NYPD steps up security ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations
Joe Torres has more on New Year's Eve security preparations from Times Square.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Preparations are underway for New Year's Eve celebrations in New York City, with the NYPD stepping up security amid heightened tensions over the crisis in the Middle East and an increased terror alert.

On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Adams laid out a plan to keep revelers safe, calling it a "real Herculean task" to maintain safety and security during the annual spectacle that is New Year's Eve in Times Square.

As a former police officer, the mayor knows New York's finest will have a finely-tuned law enforcement strategy for the high-profile and densely populated party at the Crossroads of the World, but unlike other years, the war in the Mideast and the nearly 500 protests since October 7 all add another layer of concern.

"You are seeing a small pocket of people who are now becoming part of the protests who are really trying to rile up the crowd. And we cannot tolerate that and we can't accept it," Adams said.

On Monday, police arrested half-a-dozen people at a protest near the Rockefeller Center tree. The mayor said he's sure protestors will try to do the same on New Year's Eve. In fact, posts on social media already point to a December 31 "Shut it Down" day of action.

Janice Yu has the details.

"I'm not a betting man but I think it is a pretty safe bet that someone is going to do something to distract or disrupt the events in Times Square," said Tom Harris of the Times Square Alliance.

"Unrest as far as raising awareness and fighting for what they believe in... obviously I support their cause personally," area worker Omer S. said. "I don't believe that it is going to make much of a difference in terms of the level of security they are going to bring up here."

As for the camera-toting tourists and party-loving revelers in Times Square, Eyewitness News reporter Joe Torres heard little about "fear of trouble" on the final night of 2023. At the same time, many will be watching from the comfort of home.

"We have been through this before even after 9/11 and again, I think that the police department is watching it very carefully and I do have confidence in them," said Massapequa resident Ellen Schlef.


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