And now, with the barricades up in Times Square for a celebration like none we've seen, the countdown to 2021 has begun with so many waving goodbye to a year like no other.
"2020 has been horrible for everything," one New York City resident said. "I have a 5-month-old baby girl, and I wish nothing but the best for this world and humanity."
Hope is rising among those taking pictures and seeing the sites on New Year's Eve, which all look so much different in a pandemic year. Many are praying that when that clock strikes midnight, things will start to get better.
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"The only thing I want to see happen next year is no more COVID," Bronx resident Renaldo Belen said. "I want to go outside."
Usually a million people pack Times Square on New Year's Eve, but 2020 is not a usual year.
"I want equality for 2021," Sofia Melendez said. "That's for sure. I want everyone to get the same exact rights, treatment, everything."
They hope that what separated us physically will eventually bring us together in the months to come.
"That the corona's done so everybody can have a good time," one man said. "We can party again, enjoy the rooftop, enjoy the weather, take these (masks) off, have a good time."
A sign of the times, the special guests in Times Square this year will be first responders and essential workers, but they won't be joining the mayor on stage to lead the countdown. Instead, each guest will watch from a private, well-spaced area.
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This was a year that taught everyone to expect the unexpected, but luckily for all, hindsight will soon officially be 2020.
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