WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Downtown White Plains will be the center of local New Year's revelry and the county's towns and villages are prepared to help keep the celebration and aftermath safe for residents and visitors.
Those who want to part of the 10-9-8-7. ... countdown to 2014 can join the celebration at the 14th Annual New Year’s Eve Family Spectacular in White Plains -- the county’s answer to the Times Square ball drop with live music, a ball drop, a midnight fireworks display and plenty of downtown nightlife.
As part of the county's effort to keep the holiday safe, Heineken USA is joining forces with Westchester County, the City of White Plains and the White Plains Business Improvement District for its program called: "New Year. Safe Ride."
Those who may have a bit too much fun partying may take advantage of the program between 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31 and 3 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 1. The car service station will be in the heart of downtown, on the corner of East Post Road and Mamaroneck Avenue.
"With its countless great restaurants and energetic nightlife, downtown White Plains has everything you need to celebrate New Year's Eve. Our New Year's Eve Spectacular has become a fun and exciting tradition for many White Plains families, as well as people from all over Westchester County, White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said in a statement on the county's website. "I would like to thank and congratulate all of the community partners who help support this terrific event, especially Heineken USA."
Local police departments and governments are also preparing for enforce traffic laws and will set up check points in various communities to check for motorists who may be driving impaired.
The New York State Police from Troop K posted its advisory this week, giving fair warning to all party-goers.
“You’ll see us making lots of stops during this highly visible enforcement period and if we suspect anyone is driving while intoxicated, officers will show zero tolerance for drunk driving,” said Maj. Robin H. Benziger, Troop K Commander.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32,367 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes across the nation in 2011, and 31 percent (9,878) of those fatalities occurred in drunk-driving-related crashes. “The December holiday season is the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ and we are going to keep our roads safe for travelers heading to visit friends and family,” Benziger said. “This holiday, we will show zero tolerance for drunk drivers on the road. If you choose to drive drunk, we will see you, we will stop you, and you will be arrested.”
A 43-year tradition continues at all of the Thruway travel plazas on New Year's Eve as officials remind motorists to take breaks from driving to prevent sleepiness. Free coffee and tea will be available from 11 p.m., Tuesday, through 7 a.m., Wednesday, at all of the 27 travel plazas because of a partnership with travel plaza operators and the Thruway Authority.
The White Plains Department of Public Safety offers the following tips to those who plan to be celebrating.
• Have something to eat before consuming alcoholic beverages.
• Eat high protein foods that will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol into your system.
• Remember only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body.
• Have a designated driver or a cab to ensure your safe travels home.
• Know your safe limit; and never drink and drive.
For those who do not plan to sleep in on New Year's Day, County Executive Robert P. Astorino invites the public to an open house reception on Wednesday, Jan. 1, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., on the 9th floor of the Michaelian Office Building, 148 Martine Ave., White Plains.
Refreshments will be served. RSVP by Monday, Dec. 30, to EventsRSVP@westchestergov.com or 914-995-2952.