NEW YORK: Times Square erupted in joy and a shower of multi-coloured confetti as New York City’s famed crystal ball eased down to mark the year’s final seconds and usher in 2014 yesterday.
A wave of spectacular firework displays boomed and glittered around the globe to ring in the New Year, from a record-shattering show in Dubai, to Sydney and Rio de Janeiro. In New York an estimated million people, braving freezing temperatures and some camping out since morning for a good spot, joined in a chorus for the countdown to 2014.
US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor — a native New Yorker — activated the mechanism that sent the Big Apple’s famed 5,500 kilo flashy ball down a pole to signal the start of a new year.
Loudspeakers boomed out Frank Sinatra’s signature song “New York, New York” for the first moments of 2014, and three astronauts from the International Space Station appeared on a giant screen TV to wish the crowd a happy new year.
Live music helped keep the revellers warm, from the likes of Miley Cyrus — wrapped in floor-length white fur — and Melissa Etheridge, who sang a version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
“It’s really cold but there’s a lot of entertainment. It’s fun!,” said Sara, a New Jersey woman who arrived at seven in the morning for a front row spot.
Boisterous parties in other US cities followed as the start of the new year swept west.
A jubilant crowd gathered in Jackson Square in New Orleans, and some 70,000 partied with the veteran country music star Hank Williams, Jr in Nashville, Tennessee.
Around the world, fireworks lit up the skies to welcome the New Year. Europe joined the party with a giant fireworks salvo in London.