No specific threats to Times Square New Year's Eve celebration, NYPD outlines security measures

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, December 30, 2023
Final preparations underway for Times Square New Year's Eve celebration
Josh Einiger has more on the security plan ahead of the big celebration.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Revelers should expect a large police presence at the annual New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square amid concerns about protests targeting the event, but police assured the public there are no credible threats.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD officials held a briefing Friday afternoon to outline security plans for the big night, where one million people are anticipated to pack into the area.

While there are no specific threats to the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration, thousands of uniformed officers and "a large contingent" of plainclothes officers will be on duty.

"This is their Super Bowl," Adams said. "We know how to safeguard events of this size."

The security plan includes dogs, drones, horses and "the full compliment of our security apparatus," the mayor added. The security zone is also being expanded from Sixth to Eighth avenues from West 41st to West 57th streets.

"That gives us a buffer zone," Chief John Chell said, that is meant to help keep demonstrators away from the core of Times Square.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators will go through checkpoints and the security plan has been adjusted to account for possible protests tied to the Israel-Hamas war.

"It's not going to be tolerated, it's not going to be accepted," Adams said.

Since the Oct. 7 attack in Israel by Hamas, there have been nearly 500 protests across the city.

"The groups that have regularly protested in regards to Israel-Palestine have been 2 to 5,000 on occasion, and you know we're prepared for them at any number," said Assistant Chief John Hart. "We're prepared for different groups from different places. And you know, we will make sure this event stays safe and peaceful."

On Christmas Day, six people were arrested at a protest near the Rockefeller Center tree. A similar scenario unfolded during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, where pro-Palestinian protesters briefly interrupted the celebration.

What's more, concerns linger after last year's machete attack on three officers on New Year's Eve near Times Square. 19-year-old Trevor Bickford was arrested and later revealed to be an ISIS sympathizer. His trial is expected next March.

Officers are expected to allow celebrants into Times Square viewing areas earlier this year as they attempt ease the congestion that the extended closures are likely to cause.

In light of the security measures, Tom Harris of the Times Square Alliance advised those attending to arrive early.

Times Square Alliance President Tom Harris joins Mornings @ 10 to discuss the city's celebrations ahead of the new year.

This all comes as the city continues preparations for the big countdown.

On Friday, the Times Square Alliance, which organizes the ball drop, conducted a confetti test, which is done to make sure the 3,000 pounds of colorful confetti will be ready to be released at midnight.

ABC News contributed to this report.

ALSO READ | Everything to know about celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square

Anthony Carlo has the details.


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