New York Party Begins

The country's biggest bash is already underway in Times Square

(Everything2000) Twenty-four hours before the New Year dawns in New York and the center of the party is lit and ready for midnight. The famous ball was lighted at Times Square and then raised 77 feet above the building as thousands watched a pageant below

As New York was getting ready for its big party the party was well underway in the South Pacific where the New Year has already arrived. To honor that, a pageant of 12 foot-tall fans and flags in tropical colors were raised in Times Square as the ball was lifted to its perch.

Thousands are already beginning to line the streets of New York. It is a cold morning and snow is starting fall in small flurries. The wait is going to be long, but the millions of revelers don't seem to care they want to be a part of history.

New York's celebration is the biggest and longest in the world with more than a million and a half revelers expected to take part in the 24-hour party. The hours are already being counted down and the party in the streets of New York is already beginning. This morning there will be 500 musicians, dancers and actors entertaining the crowd in Times Square. The event will continue all day long with the highlight at midnight when the ball drops.

New York's celebration will be a bit different this year. There will be more police officers and roads will be closed to traffic for several blocks. Terrorism fears prompted extra security precautions and manhole covers have been sealed, mailboxes locked and roads closed to keep the area safe for those who plan to attend tonight's big bash. Eight-thousand police officers will be on hand and several police helicopters will fly overhead.

The first Times Square New Year's party was in 1904, when the owners of 1 Times Square sponsored a rooftop affair. There were some fireworks, but they were soon deemed insufficient.

Three years later, New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs conjured up the now-traditional ball dropping from the same building. With the exception of two years during World War II, the brightly illuminated ball has marked every New since.

Source: Associated Press

DATE: 12/31/99

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