TIMES SQUARE — By noon, Times Square was already packed with revelers, who've gone above and beyond in preparation for a night without bathrooms, food and drink on New Year's Eve.
Cassidy Campbell, 19, from Clare, Michigan, and her cousin Autumn Burgett, 21, from Saganaw, Michigan, said they'd forced themselves not to drink since Wednesday evening, desperate not to get caught short in the bathroom-free zone.
They'd come to Times Square with only a handful of granola bars to fortify themselves during their several hour wait for the ball to drop.
They need to stay moving, Campbell said, because "when we sit down, we could probably pass out."
But Burgett said the ordeal was worth it in order to erase negative memories from 2015 and start 2016 with a clean slate.
"I just got dumped," she said.
Sisters Belle, 21, and Jess, 29, were inside one of many security pens set up by NYPD after driving from their hometown of Sharon, Pa., at midnight. They arrived in New York at 8 a.m and said they had already been awake for 24 hours.
"I just can't wait to the countdown," Belle said.
Times Square was filled with block-long security pens starting at 42nd Street and stretching to 48th street. By noon Thursday, the 45th street and 46th street pens were close to full.
Entry to the pens required passage through a security checkpoint and metal detector wand inspection. Backpacks were prohibited but occupants could bring in items in clear plastic bags.
The security measures make Times Square "look like some type of quarantine," according to Jay Bulock, 32. Bulock was selling stools for $10 to $15 on the corner of 7th Avenue and 45th Street.
Kiah Appledore, 20, of Australia, was celebrating with friends Keeley McCarthy, 20, also from Australia and Cherry Aurthur, 21, of South Africa. McCarthy said she was there just to say "she did New Year's Eve in Times Square."
The group brought sandwiches, snacks and water, but their biggest biggest concern was having to go to the bathroom. Their solution? Trying to ignore the problem.
"We're going to stop talking about it," McCarthy said.