Updated 01/01/2010 10:38 AM
Huge, Wet Crowd Rings In New Year In Times Square
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Fireworks rang out and confetti rained down as hundreds of thousands of revelers welcomed the year 2010 in Times Square Thursday night.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and students from 12 nationally-ranked New York City public high schools triggered the traditional ball drop, which was followed as usual by a recording of "Auld Lang Syne" and then Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York."
John Lennon's "Imagine" was played in its customary spot leading up to midnight.
Sprinkles of wet snow fell throughout the evening as temperatures hovered around the mid 30s. Revelers, however, said they weren't bothered by the wet conditions.
"It's mad isn't it, but we just always wanted to do it from being little, so we're here now," said one visitor from England.
"You're entertained, so it's not like you're standing there and you don't like it. There's constant entertainment going on," said another celebrant. "It's too many people standing there to be cold."
"You got to try for adventure, you only live once," said another onlooker. "You get an opportunity, you go for it."
"We have probably 21 layers on between the two of us, that's what we counted, so we're bundled up pretty well," said another crowd member.
This year, the famed crystal ball featured 2,600 Waterford crystals illuminated with LED lights. The crystals were designed with an interlocking ribbon pattern woven into a Celtic knot called "Let There Be Courage."
Onlookers also shared their New Year's resolutions with NY1.
"Peace for the world, and I hope the economy gets a little better. So those are my wishes," said one participant.
"I try not to make none, you always break them," said another.
Workers from the Department of Sanitation tackled the debris following the festivities and the crowds' departures.
The agency estimated the crowd left more than 40 tons of party hats, noisemakers, confetti and streamers following the celebration. Officials said nearly 150 sanitation workers armed with dozens of mechanical sweepers, trucks and leaf blowers helped clear everything out for New Year's Day.
"We generally have the place cleaned up early in the morning,” said Bernard Sullivan of the DOS. “There might be some tidying up on the side streets that continues through the morning, and we have people in place to go right through tomorrow to make sure everything is in tip-top shape."
The DOS says last New Year's Eve they cleaned up 39 tons of waste at a cost of nearly $54,000.
Security in the area was typically tight, with the New York City Police Department using radiological and biological detectors as part of the security operations.
Although there were no specific threats to the city, Governor David Paterson beefed up security at transportation hubs as a New Year's Eve precaution. At least 80 extra National Guard members were providing security at John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports.
Guardsmen were also patrolling ground transportation hubs including Penn Station and PATH terminals.
Around the world Thursday, revelers gathered to bid farewell to the first decade of the century.
In Australia, more than one million people gathered at the iconic Sydney Harbor to watch a high-tech fireworks display.
Then midnight moved westward across the Eastern Hemisphere. In Denmark, the streets of Copenhagen were filled with revelers and the skies were filled with rockets.
In Paris, the Eiffel Tower put on the glittering display it has become known for in recent years.
Also in London, the giant Ferris wheel on the banks of the Thames River became a backdrop and a launching pad for New Year's pyrotechnics.