If you’re one of those brave or crazy folks planning on ringing in 2009 in New York City’s Times Square, this post’s for you.

One million people are expected to crowd into the world’s brightest crossroads to await the dropping of the Waterford crystal ball, a tradition that’s more than a century old.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re one of them:

-Revelers begin gathering by early afternoon. The ball is raised to the top of the flagpole at 6 PM. You should definitely be in place by then if you expect to get even a long view of the ball. You may want to stop by the Times Square Information Center before staking out your space so you can fill out a wish for the new year. Your wish will be added to the one ton of confetti that will rain down upon the crowd at the midnight hour.

-There are no port-a-potties or public restroom facilities available within the cordoned viewing area, so go light on liquids before arriving and while waiting.

-Leave the alcohol at home or in your hotel room. It’s not allowed.

-Leave bags and backpacks at home, too. They’re not allowed either, and police manning the entry checkpoints will turn you back if you arrive with a bag or pack.

-If you’re planning on arriving by car, check out this list of street closures.

-Eat up! There are no food vendors inside the cordoned area, so unless you plan to charm your way into a seat at one of these restaurants with a view, you better make sure you eat early.

-Be patient! With a million people circulating in a relatively small space, the vast majority of them surging towards the subway once the ball drops, patience will be necessary if you plan on ringing in 2009 on a positive not.

Online Resources:

City of New York’s website.

Times Square Alliance’s website.

Other Resources:

If you have any questions at all about New York City or the New Year’s event, call the city’s all-purpose information line, 311.

Photo: HGruber (Flickr creative commons)