Revelers wait for midnight during New Year’s celebrations in Times Square as seen from the Marriott Marquis in New York, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Crystal ball drops in frigid Times Square to mark 2018

New Yorkers, celebrity entertainers and tourists from around the world packed a frigid Times Square to mark the start of 2018

The glittering crystal ball dropped with a burst of confetti and dazzling fireworks as revelers rang in 2018 in frigid Times Square — the second-coldest celebration there on record.

It was only 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 12 Celsius) in the city, and the celebration was less crowded than other years. Some of the metal pens, usually packed with people, were only partially full. Bundled up in hats, gloves, face masks and numerous layers of clothing, partygoers danced and hugged and kissed as the ball dropped.

Eva Santos, of New York, said she hoped 2018 would bring more unity “for our countries and other countries.”

“I hope for a peaceful year and just love, I hope for more love,” she said. “We’re hoping for better things to come. Our country needs to get better.”

New Yorker Colleen Keenan was with her son Kevin Keenan and his friend Devin Wright when midnight hit.

“It is a beautiful experience. There’s nothing like it, nothing at all like it,” she said as the ball dropped. “Times Square is the place to be on New Year’s Eve, that’s for sure. Now everyone is going to get drunk and get warm.”

Wright, of Long Beach, California, said she was “intoxicatingly in love with every moment of today.”

“I’m freezing, but it’s worth it,” she said. “Every second in this miserable cold is worth it.”

Mariah Carey made it through her set on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” after bungling the performance last year. She dressed in a floor-length gown and a furry white coat, performing her 1990s hits “Vision of Love” and “Hero.”

Carey asked for hot tea between songs — and joked that it was “a disaster” that there wasn’t any. But a year ago she stumbled through her short set, failing to sing for most of it despite a pre-recorded track of her songs playing in the background. She was visibly upset during that performance and blamed the show’s production team, but they ultimately buried the hatchet.

The dazzling finale of the show was the traditional drop of a Waterford Crystal ball down a pole atop 1 Times Square.

This year, the ball was 12 feet (3.5 metres) in diameter, weighs 11,875 pounds (5,385 kilograms) and was covered with 2,688 triangles that change colours like a kaleidoscope, illuminated by 32,256 LED lights. When the first ball drop happened in 1907, it was made of iron and wood and adorned with 100 25-watt light bulbs. The first celebration in the area was in 1904, the year the city’s first subway line started running.

After two terrorist attacks and a rampaging SUV driver who plowed into a crowd on the very spot where the party takes place, police were taking no chances. Security was tighter than ever before. Garages in the area were sealed off. Detectives were stationed at area hotels working with security officials to prevent sniper attacks.

Thousands of uniformed officers lined the streets. Concrete blocks and sanitation trucks blocked vehicles from entering the secure area where spectators gathered. Partygoers passed through one of a dozen checkpoints where they were screened and then screened again as they made their way to the main event.

At 48th Street and Seventh Avenue, Chris Garcia, his girlfriend, Zayra Velazquez, and her brother Edgar Valdez stood rigidly, having waited in the cold for almost six hours. Valdez said he felt “pretty safe” at the event.

“They checked us pretty good,” he said. “Police checked what we had, and another scanned us with metal detectors.”

The police department estimated that it costs $7.5 million to protect the event.

The frostiest ball drop on record was 1 degree Fahrenheit (minus 17 Celsius) in 1907. In 1962 it was just 11 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 12 Celsius) outside, and in 1939 and 2008 it was 18 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8 Celsius).

Sarah Cole and Michael Carter, from Newfoundland, Canada, said they weren’t deterred by the weather because they’re used to it.

“The experience is 100 per cent worth it,” she said. “The atmosphere, the people, the entertainment. What’s a little cold feet?”

Some wore red scarfs that read “Happy New Year” and others donned yellow and purple hats as a pizza deliveryman sold pies to the hungry crowd.

In a prime viewing spot near 42nd Street, Alexander Ebrahim grinned as he looked around at the flashing lights of Times Square.

“I always saw it on TV, so I thought why not come out and see it in person,” the Orange County, California, resident said. “It’s an experience you can never forget.”

Michael Waller made a snap decision on Saturday evening to drive straight from Columbus, Ohio. He made it to Times Square at 8 a.m. and waited all day in front of the ball.

“I didn’t want to stay home for this, by myself,” he said.

Tarana Burke, an activist who started a #MeToo campaign a decade ago to raise awareness about sexual violence, started the ceremonial ball drop, pushing the crystal button that officially began the 60-second countdown to the new year.

Just minutes after midnight, partygoers started to drain from the area as if a giant tub stopper had been pulled up. And the cleanup began, led by a small army of city employees including more than 200 sanitation workers, who clear the area of confetti and other garbage. Crews removed more than 44 tons (40 metric tons) of debris last year.

___

Associated Press writer Colleen Long and radio correspondent Julie Walker contributed to this report.

Rebecca Gibian And David James Jeans, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Heavy rainfall warning

Rainfall expected to exceed 100 mm in Prince Rupert and North Coast regions

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

Community engagement process launched to implement northern B.C. First Nation’s rights and title

Dogs are matched with the person, not the person matched to the dog – Prince Rupert SPCA

Prince Rupert SPCA does their due diligence in adopting dogs to suitable human companions

Photo Gallery: Memorial totem pole raising in Prince Rupert

The memorial pole stands in memory of Prince Rupert carvers mother on Second Ave. West

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

External community engagement process launched to help implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read