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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Safely Ring in 2021 in Times Square With an Augmented Reality Walk Through Midtown Manhattan

Get up close to the biggest celebration in the world without leaving home.

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Although we can’t wait for 2021 to come, celebrations won’t be the same. And that’s especially true for the annual ball drop in Times Square. While roughly a million people usually flood the Manhattan hot spot, gathering restrictions prevent the major event from happening. But, incredibly, this year, you can get closer to the famous ball than ever before because a new virtual experience was just launched.

Jamestown, the real estate investment and management company that produces the Times Square even each year, created an augmented reality via the Times Square via app or online. Once you’re signed on, you can create a personalized avatar and stroll through the 2020 Remembrance Hall, explore Times Square Plaza, roam around One Times Square (home of the New Year’s Eve Ball), and walk out onto the observation deck to take in an incredible view.

Related: 11 Hotels Offering New Year's Eve Buyouts

The technology also allows you to watch virtual performances by Alex Boyé, Armani White, and Chloe Gilligan, who also created avatars. Plus, you can take a selfie in Times Square with the ball, wear traditional New Year’s glasses, and watch the fireworks when the clock strikes midnight. And there are New Year’s Eve themed games like collecting confetti to earn points.

While this virtual experience begins December 19, there will be additional events on December 31, such as a live stream of the midnight countdown. An EarthCam Rolling Live feed will also show New Year’s celebrations worldwide and from the International Space Station.

“In a year of cancellations, there’s one party that can’t be postponed. We were inspired to create a place for everyone, everywhere, to gather safely to celebrate as we welcome in the New Year,” Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown, told Departures in a statement. “VNYE offers an immersive virtual world from the epicenter of New Year’s Eve—Times Square.”

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