NEW YORK (AP) — New Yorkers, celebrity entertainers and tourists from around the world are packing into a frigid Times Square Sunday to mark the start of 2018 with a glittering crystal ball drop, a burst of more than a ton of confetti and midnight fireworks.
It was only 14 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) in the city by late afternoon — already making it one of the coldest celebrations on record. Security was at an all-time high after a year that saw several fatal attacks on large crowds, including one in Times Square itself last spring.
Remle Scott, 22, and her boyfriend Brad Whittaker, 22, of San Diego, arrived shortly after 9 a.m., saying they were trying to keep a positive attitude as temperatures hovered in the teens. Each was wearing several layers of clothing.“Our toes are frozen, so we’re just dealing with it by dancing.” Scott said.
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,” said the 19-year-old from Orange County, California. “It’s an experience you can never forget.”
Ebrahim came alone — and planned to welcome the new year with others enduring the cold with him. Brother and sister Dave and Amy Jensen came from Chicago – and were optimistic both about coping in the cold and the year ahead.
“I think it will be a year of optimism for a lot of people looking forward,” Dave Jensen said.
Mariah Carey will perform again on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” hosted by Ryan Seacrest, after a bungled performance last year in which 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. Carey was visibly upset during the performance and she blamed the show’s production team, but they ultimately buried the hatchet. Carey posted an advertisement featuring herself for the show on Dec. 22 that said: “Take 2.”
The dazzling finale of the show will be the traditional drop of a Waterford Crystal ball down a pole atop One Times Square.
This year, the ball is 12 feet (3.5 meters) in diameter, weighs 11,875 pounds and is covered with 2,688 triangles that change colors 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 same year the city’s first subway line started running.