Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve to be partly powered by bicycle

A screen shows Whitney Houston's funeral in Times Square on February 18, 2012 in New York City.
Robin Marchant

NEW YORK – New Yorkers and energetic tourists have spent the past three days pedaling six stationary Citi Bikes set up at 7th Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan to generate kinetic energy to help power the famous Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve.

The energy is being collected and stored in batteries that will help offset the energy needed to light the New Year's Eve ball.

Volunteers – who’ve been generating an average 75 watts per bike per hour – received free day passes – which usually cost about $10 – to use New York City’s Citi Bike bicycle sharing service.

They’ll be glad they saved money on the bike passes if they decide to eat at Applebee’s in Times Square on Dec. 31.

The franchise owner of the Times Square location of the chain restaurant, known for its two-for-$20 dinner specials, will be charging customers over 12 years old $375-a-person to eat there on New Year’s Eve. (Kids eat for $250.)

The menu will consist of “a ton of food” prepared by “some fairly sophisticated culinary people,” Zane Tankel, owner of all 38 Applebee’s restaurants in the New York metro area, told the New York Post.

Starting at 8 p.m., there will be a buffet, an open bar, a DJ, a dance floor and party favors. “You wouldn’t know you were at an Applebee’s for that one night,” Tankel said.

Finally, there’s the ball drop. Last year, Lady Gaga pressed the button. This year it will be US Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, a Bronx native who’ll be the first Supreme Court Justice to perform this duty.

If none of this seems to quite capture the essence of fast-departing 2013, don’t fret: There will also be a Miley Cyrus performance.