Boston Officials Address First Night Security and Frigid Temps

Boston city officials discussed how they plan to deal with public safety in advance of New Year's Eve and First Night celebrations.

Key topics were security, transportation, and weather at the Friday news conference. 

"The only thing I know as a guarantee is the ice sculptures will not melt in the next three days," Mayor Marty Walsh quipped. 

Walsh stressed safety is the biggest priority and says there will be extra EMS crews on the street. He said that all First Night events would go on as scheduled, but there could be alterations as New Year's night approaches depending on weather conditions. 

However, the New Year's Eve Ice Show scheduled for 6 p.m. on the Frog Pond was canceled due to the forecasted low temperatures and frostbite warnings. The pond will still be open for public skating. As of Friday night, First Night Boston organizers said all Copley Square festivities and the Boston Common Fireworks are still on.

"We're asking people to dress warm with lots of loose layers," said Walsh. "We're asking you to look out for signs of hyperthermia and frostbite. In these very cold conditions, frostbite can happen in as little as 30 minutes. If you feel it's too cold and you didn't dress appropriately, be smart and call it a night."

Police Commissioner William Evans said there is currently no credible threat to the city on First Night, but stressed law enforcement will be vigilant and asked the public to help, as well.

"We're always asking people when they're out there, be alert for anything that might be suspicious. We're asking people to not leave backpacks unattended." Evans said. 

Evans said there will be numerous uniformed and undercover police on duty, many of whom are trained to detect someone carrying a bomb.

In light of the October Las Vegas shooting that took place from a high-rise hotel, Evans says police are taking appropriate precautions in Boston.

"In Las Vegas we saw someone firing down from a hotel and to have someone from the crowd looking down, a potential hazard like that, is a new reality," Evans said.

Walsh reminded people that public drinking is unlawful and urged those traveling to Boston to use public transportation. All T service will be free after 8:00 p.m. and there is additional transportation information at

On Thursday, city officials said they will also add more places for people to warm up before the clock strikes midnight. They urged anyone who plans on attending First Night celebrations to add layers to their outfits.

Crews who were setting up for the festivities on Thursday were taking the advice seriously.

"I’m going on five layers right now," Eric Riley said. "Two hand warmers, some foot warmers and some gloves, I think I’m good."

Riley was part of a team that spent eight hours setting up on Copley Square Thursday. The deep freeze is ideal for the ice sculptures, but not so much for the revelers. Those who come every year say they are staying positive, despite the negative wind chills expected.

"There’s lots of indoor spaces. You can go and just wrap up in layers and layers and the energy can’t be beat! I love it," attendee Enid Shulman said.

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