The musical group Train performed John Lennon's "Imagine" as revelers counted down to the new year at the Crossroads of the World Monday night.
More than 1 million celebrants jammed Times Square to ring in 2013 on a cold and often windy night that saw temperatures in the mid 30s.
As the final seconds of 2012 ticked away, the Rockettes from Radio City Music Hall helped Mayor Michael Bloomberg launch the traditional midnight ball drop. Organizers said they chose the iconic dance company to give the night a special New York City touch.
This year's ball was a Waterford crystal globe lit by more than 32,000 LED lights. The ball's panels feature doves etched into the crystal, which organizers said were a sign of peace following a tumultuous year.
Following the ball drop, revelers hugged as Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" played.
An estimated 1 billion people were expected to view the Midtown celebration on television.
New York City police officers were out early Monday patrolling the area before they began closing down streets for the celebration. Many revelers turned out to Times Square early Monday morning and wasted no time staking out a spot for the night's big party.
Visitors were required to pass through metal detectors to gain access to the Times Square area.