NYC revelers usher in ’09 with cheer, optimism

By CRISTIAN SALAZAR –

NEW YORK (AP) — Despite months of economic gloom, revelers throughout the country welcomed the new year with merrymaking and even optimism, though some festivities fell to hard times and others were subdued.

“The worst part of last year was probably trying to get through financially,” said Liza Mazzotte, a composer who had come from California to join the hundreds of thousands of celebrants in frigid Times Square to see the Waterford crystal ball drop. “I’m not worried about what I lost. I’m going to be looking to the future.”

As the clock struck midnight Wednesday, a ton of confetti fluttered down on the revelers bundled up in fur hats, coats and sleeping bags. Fireworks burst atop the tower where the ball was lowered. Noisemakers screeched, partygoers kissed and cheers echoed through the corridors of midtown Manhattan.

Former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton, expected to be secretary of state in President-elect Barack Obama’s administration, joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg to lower the ball atop 1 Times Square for the 60-second countdown to midnight.

The National Weather Service said the midnight temperature at Central Park, just blocks from Times Square, was 18 degrees and the 16 mph wind blowing through the urban canyons made the wind chill just 3 degrees.

The temperature had fallen a couple of degrees when city sanitation crews started sweeping up the confetti and other party trash Thursday morning. Last year, crews removed more than 40 tons of garbage. Read more.




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