2019年12月30日 星期一

N.Y. Today: Times Square Drones

What you need to know for Monday.

On New Year’s Eve, Drones in Times Square

It’s Monday.

Weather: Rain is expected, heaviest during the morning commute. The high will reach the mid-40s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Wednesday (New Year’s Day).


David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Show up early. Stand outside in the cold. Wait for hours.

New York City’s new police commissioner, Dermot Shea, acknowledges that celebrating New Year’s Eve in Times Square is a little “crazy.” And yet, it’s an unparalleled celebration.

“It’s everything New York in that moment,” Commissioner Shea said at a news conference on Friday.

The area, which is already heavily patrolled, will, as usual, get a security boost for the holiday: more than 1,200 security cameras, thousands of uniformed and plainclothes police officers, more than 200 “blocker vehicles” to prevent crosstown traffic, bomb-sniffing dogs and countless metal detectors.

And for the first time on a New Year’s Eve, the police said, drones will be used for surveillance.

The police will be watching from above

The Police Department planned to use a drone in Times Square last Dec. 31, but because of poor weather, “we couldn’t get it up to watch it,” Terence Monahan, the chief of department, said on Friday.


Chief Monahan declined to discuss exactly how drones would be used tomorrow, but he said that the police have deployed them “on three or four different occasions here in New York City on major events.”

Last year, John Miller, the department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said a drone would “give us a visual aid and the flexibility of being able to move a camera to a certain spot with great rapidity through a tremendous crowd.”

Although city officials and event organizers have said one million to two million people are on Times Square’s streets on New Year’s Eve, crowd-estimate experts say that number is closer to 100,000.

What to know if you go

Get to Times Square early. The police will begin restricting vehicular and pedestrian traffic around 4 a.m., and the pens where revelers gather may start filling up by 11 a.m., the police said.


There are multiple security checkpoints with hand wands and magnetometers, the police said. Backpacks, duffel bags, umbrellas and alcohol are not permitted.

“Times Square is probably going to be the safest place on the Planet Earth on New Year’s Eve because nobody else puts that kind of effort into an event like this,” Mr. Miller said.

Also, there are no portable bathrooms in Times Square, so plan accordingly.

Where to go

Times Square will be accessible from Sixth and Eighth Avenues only; no one will be allowed to cross Broadway or Seventh Avenue after the streets are closed. For a list of access points, visit the Times Square website.

Some subway station entrances and exits in and near Times Square will be temporarily closed for crowd control, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Why go?

As Commissioner Shea put it on Friday, “I’ve gone there and felt the cold in my bones three days later, but there is nothing like being out there when that ball comes down.”

He added: “As crazy as it is, to have to get there that early and to freeze and be like a wet duck, like last year like we all were — it’s something that you have to experience and you see the best in people.”


Explore news from New York and around the region

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

Governor Cuomo has proposed a ban on buying e-cigarettes online and selling flavored nicotine vaping products. [Newsday]

The Grand Army Plaza arch in Brooklyn was tagged with graffiti reading “Bird God.” [Daily News]

Meet New York City’s lead-poisoning detectives. [Wall Street Journal]

Coming up today

Paint in the style of Jacob Lawrence, Stuart Davis and Georgia O’Keeffe at the Vacation Week Art Workshop at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. 1-4 p.m. [Free with museum admission]

Make a gingerbread house at workshops throughout the day at the New York Hall of Science in Queens. The museum is host to “GingerBread Lane,” in Guinness World Records as the largest gingerbread village. [$15]

See a screening of “Elf” at the East Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library. 1:15 p.m. [Free]

— Melissa Guerrero

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

And finally: The Rikers coffee academy

At Rikers Island, one of the nation’s most notorious and sprawling jails, fancy coffee is served twice a day in a staff lounge. For free.

For the warden, a chai latte, not too sweet. For one guard heading into a long shift, four shots of espresso.

The pop-up coffee shop is part of a program in which inmates train to become baristas, my colleague Amy Chozick reported. The sessions are available to people regardless of what charges or conviction landed them at Rikers, which the City Council plans to close by 2026, replacing it with smaller jails around the city.

Participants learn how to prepare the kind of beverages that can sell for $5 or more at a coffee shop. They also learn customer service skills that are hard to develop when doing other work commonly available to incarcerated people, like stamping license plates or making furniture, one expert said.

The classes, run by the Brooklyn-based school Procreate Coffee, started in 2017 at the island’s women’s facility. They were so popular that the New York City Department of Correction expanded it to include 18-to-24-year-olds and convicted adult men.

The department analyzed labor statistics and found that coffee shops spreading to New York’s gentrifying neighborhoods were more open to hiring people with criminal backgrounds than were other industries, Ms. Chozick reported.

Joshua Molina, 20, who spent three hours a week in barista school, said, “It makes you feel more free.”

It’s Monday — have you had your coffee yet?

Metropolitan Diary: Coming through

Dear Diary:

My husband and I have season tickets to a concert series at the 92nd Street Y. Our seats are on the aisle.

At a concert not long ago, we stood up to allow a man and a woman to get to their seats. As we did, my husband decided to have some fun with them.

“Next time,” he said, “bring candy.”

A month later, we were settling in for another concert when the same couple appeared. We stood to let them through.

As they passed, the woman handed my husband a large bag of M&Ms.

“I remembered,” she said with a smile.

— Nina Levy

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