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We’ve been through enough in 2020, and even though this New Year’s Eve calls for a celebration that we can’t actually risk with the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s not letting New York City drop the ball on the 2021 festivities.

Times Square in NYC does still plan on having the ball drop at the stroke of midnight to signal the new year, even if crowds aren’t allowed to gather in person for it. Not to mention, this year’s ball will implement 192 Waterford Crystals from the new Gift of Happiness design within the 2,688 crystals traditionally used in the geodesic sphere design, according to the official Times Square website.

A first-of-its-kind virtual Times Square experience will allow people from across the globe to enter the NYC tourist hot spot using augmented reality technology. Users can create and personalize avatars to step through the virtual Times Square plaza and the Remembrance Hall to reflect on 2020 before watching the live broadcast on Thursday, Dec. 31, to rejoice in 2021.

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“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, the president of Jamestown, which owns One Times Square, said in a press release. “VNYE offers an immersive virtual world from the epicenter of New Year’s Eve — Times Square.”

Armani White, Chloe Gilligan and Alex Boyé will deliver virtual performances using their own avatars in the app.

Viewers from around the world can tune into various live broadcasts of the iconic Times Square ball drop celebration starting at 6 p.m. ET Thursday, Dec. 31, on the VNYE app or on the NYE 2021 website. The feeds include a live show, ball cam, uptown cam, Times Square cam, and countdown and downtown cam.

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