The party in the Crossroads of the World gets underway at 6 p.m. ahead of the iconic ball drop to signal the new year
TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- New Year's Day arrived to cheers from tens of thousands of beaming people in New York's Times Square who were showered with confetti and hugs and kisses after watching the descent of the colorful ball marking the birth of 2024 with hope for some, even as the world's ongoing conflicts subdued celebrations and raised security concerns across the globe.
"It's beautiful," Corin Christian of Charlotte, North Carolina, said seconds past midnight as Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" blared from speakers in the square known as the Crossroads of the World.
"It's going very well so far," said Jacob Eriksson of Salt Lake City, Utah, with the earliest assessment of the New Year.
The march of midnight from time zone to time zone brought the new year first to places like Australia, where more than 1 million people watched a pyrotechnic display centered around Sydney's famous Opera House and harbor bridge - a number of spectators equivalent to 1 in 5 of the city's residents. It would be another 16 hours before New York reached 2024.
There were snapshots of joy from country to country as the new year was welcomed with optimism that its days will bring more joy than sorrow.
Before midnight arrived in Times Square, December Lee, 26, and Shadayah Lawrence, 25, of Columbus, Ohio, said their New York visit highlighted four years of traveling the globe.
"It is a good way to bring in the new year," Lee said.
Also in Times Square, Tyrell Jacobs, 27, and Sarah Crayton, 26, arrived from New Orleans 15 hours before midnight and got engaged in streets packed with tens of thousands of people counting first the hours and then the minutes until midnight.
"It's definitely a must-see," Crayton said of the colorful cast of strangers nearby in tall hats and blowing noisemakers even before the ball dropped. "At least go once, you know, just to experience the magic."
A small army of thousands of police officers worked to keep New York City safe, just as heightened security had done in the cities midnight hit first. New York has seen near-daily protests sparked by the Israel-Hamas war.
Some 90,000 police and security officers were deployed around France including along Champs-Elysees Avenue, where large crowds took in a multidimensional light show projected onto the Arc de Triomphe showcasing the history of Paris and sports on the menu for next year's Summer Olympics in the city.
Everything from barricades to drones and, as Mayor Eric Adams affirmed Friday, "the full complement of our security apparatus" will be enforced in and around Times Square as officials gear up for potential protests.
The confetti was tested for airiness. The massive numerals were in place. And the luminous ball, bedazzled with 2,688 crystal triangles, is fixed to the pole from which it made its 60-second descent at 11:59 p.m.
The party in the Crossroads of the World officially got underway around 6 p.m.
On Dec. 31, the NYPD will begin closing down access to Times Square starting at 43rd Street and Broadway, and moving north.
Beginning at 4 a.m., Seventh Avenue will be closed to traffic from 42nd to 48th streets, and vehicle traffic on the side streets from 43rd to 48th Streets will be closed from Sixth to Eighth avenues. Later in the morning, at approximately 11 a.m., Seventh Avenue and Broadway will be closed to traffic from 38th to 59th streets.
Pedestrian access points to enter viewing areas include:
-49th from Sixth & Eighth avenues
-52nd from Sixth & Eighth avenues
-56th from Sixth & Eighth avenues
Public transportation is the best bet for getting to Times Square due to traffic and street closures.
The 1, 2, 3, 7, A, B, C, D, E, F, M, N, Q, R, W, and S shuttle trains all service the Times Square area ,but note that certain trains do not run on weekends.
The most up-to-date transit information is always available by calling the MTA at 511 or visiting www.mta.info.
-Renaissance New York
-Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
-Beast and Butterflies at the M Social
-Bar 54 at the Hyatt Centric
-Tempo by Hilton at TSX Broadway
The Associated Press contributed to this report.