Naked Cowboy.jpg

From left, Jonathan and Rachel Hoffer, Dan and Tiffani Bachus, Jennifer and Steven Schwarz and Michelle and Bryan Kort party with the Naked Cowboy of Times Square, who was a featured guest at The J’s New York State of Mind gala in 2017. The J will be similarly transformed for its upcoming New Year's Eve bash.

Ringing in the New Year often means a big bash: a night for dancing, resolutions and a champagne toast at midnight. All you need to know is where to go and what to wear. 

The Valley of the Sun JCC, aka The J, will make it easy to ring in the New Year as it hosts its first ever New Year’s Eve party. The party will include a dueling piano lounge, a dance club, casino tables, food stations, an open bar, a champagne toast and an all-night breakfast cafe.  

The idea for the party came about earlier this month, after The J’s annual gala, when the William S. Levine Community Excellence Award was presented for the first time. Given the financial and social success of that event, The J’s CEO Jay Jacobs saw an opportunity to host another event for people who weren’t able to get to the gala.

“One of the big things about this event is that we’re looking to cross every generation,” said Laura Budovich, The J’s event manager. “You need to be over 21 to enter, but we’re not saying that you have to be an excitable raver to enjoy yourself.”

Jacobs reiterated that the celebration would have something for people of all ages — and the party is open to the wider community as well. 

“The goal of the New Year’s Eve party is to make sure that we have something for everybody,” Jacobs said. “If they like dancing, they’ll be able to dance. If they like relaxing and listening to music, they’ll be able to listen to the dueling pianos, which is a fun way to do it. If someone wants to gamble, we’ll have that option for them as well.”

Of course, no one will be gambling with actual cash, but people can hit the gaming tables with “funny money.”  

The dance floor will be installed in The J’s social hall, where a DJ will spin tunes.

In terms of food, in addition to the breakfast cafe, there will be hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail menu. All the food for the evening will be provided by The J’s in-house cafe, Milk + Honey. 

Though this is the first New Year’s Eve party The J is hosting, the community center is certainly familiar with having celebratory themed events.  

In December 2017, The J hosted a sold-out fundraising gala that drew more than 500 attendees. That gala had a “New York State of Mind” theme that made use of the entire campus, turning it into a borough of the city.

For this year’s transformation, The J will have an official countdown and TVs around the facility broadcasting New Year’s Eve coverage, so if you’re attached to that ritual ball-drop at Times Square, you won’t have to miss it. 

Tickets, which cost $125, will be available at the door. But Jacobs suggests people purchase them online before the registration deadline of Dec. 27. 

“The last few events we’ve hosted have reached full capacity,” Jacobs said. “We want to make sure that we can hold everybody who does come in, but we’re expecting a full crowd that night.”

And in case that crowd gets a bit too celebratory, Budovich said, they are working to create a deal for discounts with ride-sharing services like Lyft or Uber. JN


The J’s New Year’s Eve party begins at 8:30 p.m., Mon., Dec. 31, and ends at 12:30 a.m., Jan. 1, 2019. Registration and tickets are available at

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