New Year's Eve in New York

(revelers getting a spot early for the big party tonight at Times Square)
By the time I'm done writing this, the Philippines, Japan and all those countries in the Far East including Australia down under have ushered in a new year amidst fiery fireworks and noisy merry-making. It's already 2008 out there while New York and other places sharing the same latitude in this planet still await another 10 hours or so before midnight.

The Big Apple is getting ready for that and where else would the biggest party of them all be held but in Times Square with the New Year's Eve Ball Drop. Up to a million people join this revelry each year, battling the cold weather and congestion, sore feet and distended bladder. Tonight's big event is the 100th year since the first ball was dropped from the top of the flag pole at One Times Square in 1907.

On any ordinary day, it's easy to miss the flag pole atop this slender building but tonight, all eyes and cameras are fixed on it and the shimmering Waterford crystal ball hanging at the top. Organizers this year have turned environment-friendly: the lights of the ball have been replaced with a much brighter and more energy-efficient LED. Al Gore and his ilk should be happy.

I've never joined this mammoth party at Times Square but I was curious to see how preparations are being made. This morning, I was in J. Crew at midtown - not far from Times Square- to buy my "costume" for the pajama party I'm attending tonight. To my surprise, I find people already camping out in strategic side walk areas (talk about waiting for 12 long hours for a 60-second countdown!), obviously not affected by the 40-degree Fahrenheit temperature. Barricades are already set up like pens. The stage and sound system are ready, covered with tarp. Police visibility is everywhere. Security is tight. No backpacks allowed. Manholes are welded shut and garbage bins removed. Even the quality of air will be monitored for bio-terror attacks. Atop One Times Square, the flag pole commands the tourists' attention even without the ball yet.

For its centennial Ball Drop, New York surely knows how to throw a big party. And party safely and securely. Happy New Year everyone!
(random shots taken at Times Square around midday)

1 comment:

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