New Year's Eve in Times Square to be 'virtually enhanced' and 'very different' this year: organizers

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By 1010 WINS

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Times Square will ring in 2021 with a “virtually enhanced, visually compelling and very different” celebration because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced Wednesday.

The annual New Year’s Eve event, which normally see throngs of people packing Times Square to see the ball drop, will instead feature “scaled-back and socially distanced live elements still to be determined.”

“An extremely limited group of in-person honorees, socially distanced, who will reflect the themes, challenges and inspirations of 2020,” organizers said in a press release.

The event's organizers—Times Square Alliance, Jamestown Properties and Countdown Entertainment—released a video (above) teasing the unconventional New Year's Eve bash.

Mayor Bill de Blasio meanwhile praised organizers for “finding a safe, creative and innovative way for all of us to continue to celebrate this century old-tradition.”

“A new year means a fresh start, and we’re excited to celebrate,” the mayor said in a statement.

Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said there will be “significantly new and enhanced virtual, visual and digital offerings to complement whatever limited live entertainment or experiences – still in development -- will take place in Times Square.”

“Because any opportunity to be live in Times Square will be pre-determined and extremely limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be the opportunity to participate virtually wherever you are,” Tompkins said.

“More than ever in these divided and fear-filled times, the world desperately needs to come together symbolically and virtually to celebrate the people and things we love and to look forward with a sense of renewal and new beginnings,” Tompkins said.

It's not the first event to be scaled back because of the pandemic. Macy’s recently announced that it planned to "reimagine" the Thanksgiving Day Parade this year. And the iconic Village Halloween Parade was canceled over coronavirus concerns. The annual Macy's Fourth of July Spectacular also saw many changes, with fireworks happening over multiple days at different locations across the city.