New Year’s Eve revelers brave Omicron for Times Square party

Vaccination cards joined funny hats and noisemakers as the must-have accessories for Friday night’s scaled-back New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square.

Reveler Bryce Steven, 25, of Albany, said he had to show proof he’d been jabbed against COVID-19 whenever he moved from one viewing area to another ahead of the famed midnight ball drop.

“They checked my vaccination card four times,” he said of workers in special green jackets.

“It’s good, though,” he added.

“It means they care about us.”

Amid surging cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, a mere 15,000 people were being given access to the Crossroads of the World, a far cry from the tens of thousands who typically gather for the iconic party.

Visitors from Tampa, Florida wait in Times Square for the 2022 ball drop.
Georgett Roberts

Last year’s marking of the new year was closed to the public due to the pandemic, and Friday’s line to enter Times Square at West 52nd and Eighth Avenue stretched three blocks north at around 6 p.m.

“I don’t know if it’s worth it. Depends if we get in or not,” said Henry Brown, 57, of Manhattan.

“I’ve been waiting since 2:45 p.m.,” he said.

Meghan Roman, a 40-year-old nurse from Tampa, Florida, was wearing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers T-shirt and a knit cap with a pompom in the 50-degree weather as she waited in Times Square with hubby Gary Roman, 39.

Shelby Hardy, left, from Michigan and her pal, Raymi Powell, 24, from Chichester, came to see the ball drop for the first time.
Shelby Hardy, left, from Michigan and friend, Raymi Powell, 24, from Chichester, came to see the ball drop for the first time.
Georgette Roberts

The Romans, who celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary on Friday, and another couple from Tampa traveled to the Big Apple for the first time to ring in the new year and watch the Jets take on the Bucs at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

“Nothing was going to stop us, not even COVID, because it’s the perfect time for everything,” Meghan Roman said.

“It’s not freezing, it’s very comfortable,” she said.

“In Florida, it’s hot and humid. We are looking forward to a good time.”

A man shows proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter Times Square for the New Year's Eve ball drop.
A man shows proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter Times Square for the New Year’s Eve ball drop.
AP / Ted Shaffrey
Christopher Gicostanzo, a visitor from Canada, wears 2022 glasses in Times Square while waiting for the annual New Year's Eve ball drop in New York City.
Christopher Gicostanzo, a visitor from Canada, awaits the ball drop in a much smaller crowd than originally anticipated for the welcoming of 2022.
AP / Ted Shaffrey

Pal Aimee Rossiter, 41, who wore a giant red foam top hat, called the celebration “a once-in-a-lifetime event” and “just surreal.”

“I’ve been dreaming of coming out here to watch to ball drop since I was a teenager,” she said.

“I do feel the impact of COVID but I am still happy to be here to experience this.”

Jayme Lindsey, 42, wore a matching hat along with a white Buccaneers jersey and called the scene “very exciting.”

“This is a big crowd for us,” he said.

“I can’t wait to yell, ‘Happy New Year!’ I’m going to record it for the people back home.”