What’s the secret to spending New Year’s Eve outside in the middle of Times Square? Layers. Lots of layers.
Last year’s New Year’s Eve was the second coldest ever on record in New York City — temps lingered around 9 degrees, but it felt even colder (minus 4) with the windchill. And while this year’s forecast looks to be much more mild, the hosts broadcasting live from Times Square aren’t taking any chances.
“Last year I actually had two [pairs of] gloves on, that’s how cold it was,” Ryan Seacrest, the host of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” tells The Post in an e-mail. “I wore gloves that were electric-heated, and we layered it with another pair of gloves with merino wool.”
Despite the layering, Seacrest says he’s “on the move a lot, which helps keep the adrenaline going.” And even though he’s “out in the elements most of the night,” the set does offer some reprieve.
“The platform where I stand in the middle of Times Square has space heaters, ” Seacrest says.
Don’t tell that to Andy Cohen, co-host of CNN’s “New Year’s Eve Live” with his longtime friend, Anderson Cooper. Cohen says he “fought tooth and nail” last year to have portable heaters on set but was rebuffed.
“They told me it’s a fire hazard,” Cohen tells The Post.
“Our set is really small, like just 5 feet on a riser,” Cooper says. “I think Ryan Seacrest has a whole set and a whole production. Andy seemed a little surprised at how bare-bones it all is.”
Prior to last year’s teeth-chattering show, Cooper, who is hosting for the 16th time this year, was proactive and spent almost $3,000 on high-tech, electrically heated clothing (gloves, coats, vests) from the Warming Store in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, an on-set mishap (“It was so cold, nobody was thinking straight,” he says) separated him from the batteries. This year, he plans to charge the garments up in advance and try again. Cohen, meanwhile, is going a bit more old-school.
“I love those low-tech hand warmers you can get at [the drugstore] that you put in your gloves and boots,” Cohen says. “I’m going to get a big bag of those.”
“Andy is going to have his assistant make him a suit out of those little heaters,” Cooper says jokingly.
Last year, that’s pretty much what happened to Maria Menounos, co-host of Fox’s “New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey.” For her on-air Times Square wedding to her longtime boyfriend, Keven Undergaro, her team actually sewed those little hand warmers into her coat.
“They created pockets in the lining for them!” Menounos tells The Post.
Then, after the wedding, she changed out of her gown (“I had to change on the street, literally, with a black curtain around me!” she says) into multiple layers — faux fur-lined leggings, cashmere tights, multiple layers of socks, plus Uggs and heat-tech pants and shirts.
That’s why, she says, this year, she’s going to roll into New York “like Beyoncé on tour,” with lots of luggage.
“I’m choosing between, like, 100 jackets this year,” she says. “I’m so scared from last year, but even if it’s supposed to be more mild this year, I don’t want to be unprepared.”
Preparedness seems to flip year-to-year for “Rockin’ Eve” correspondent Jenny McCarthy, who spends most of the evening on the street with revelers and not onstage with Seacrest’s heaters.
“I wear seven pairs of long underwear. There’s, like, silk ones, cashmere ones, wool ones. They get thicker as I go along,” she says, adding that she’s also a fan of those small heat pads everyone else loves. “They’re taped all over my body.”
Still, even a New Year’s Eve vet like McCarthy, who’s been working the Times Square festivities since 2010, commits the occasional fashion faux pas.
“Last year, I made the mistake to wear a fashionable Burberry raincoat that was hot pink,” McCarthy says. “I thought it would pop off the screen. It was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, besides dying my hair brown once. It was a paper-thin raincoat. It wasn’t even lined. People told me I was stupid. I thought I was looking cool, and I didn’t.”
Trying to look cool on television is hard enough, but even harder in a beanie. While appearing on the “The Tonight Show” starring Jimmy Fallon in early December, Cohen said he doesn’t like how he looks in a winter hat, which is why he kept taking his off last year. Cooper, too, has shunned a hat at times because his noggin is quite famous on its own.
This year, don’t be surprised if you see Cohen covering his head: On his show, Fallon gifted Cohen a cashmere black cap to wear this New Year’s Eve.
“I do have a few other tricks up my sleeve planned this year,” Cohen says. “And I promise I won’t complain.”
Says Cooper, “I think he’s going to have a flask.”
— Additional reporting by Eric Hegedus
By Melissa Malamut