Reporting Stan Brooks
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — With the ball ready to drop and the champagne corks ready to pop, Friday night’s celebration in Times Square to ring in the New Year will be a huge party.
As nearly a million revelers cram into the streets to mark the event, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is promising a safe celebration with no threats, but lots of security, 1010 WINS’ Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks reported.
“Anytime a large number of people come together, we put in our counterterrorism overlay. We’ll have several thousand police officers deployed,” Kelly said.
The New Year’s Eve ball –which is 12 feet in diameter, weighs 11,875 pounds, features 2,688 crystal triangles and illuminated by 32,256 LED lights passed three test runs on Thursday.
Organizer Jeff Straus told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck why he believes so many people continue to flock to Times Square year after year.
“When you come here, the energy is something that you’ve never experience before and it’s that feeling of community,” Straus said.
“I’ve been in New York City for a long time, but never been here for New Year’s, so I’m excited about it,” Manalapan resident Julio Reyes told CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis.
Promoters said the ball was capable of producing a pallet of 16 million colors, WCBS 880′s Steve Knight reported.
“I don’t know the actual number of kilowatts, but this ball with the new LEDs is twice as bright as the ball that we had back in 2008,” Straus said.
Revelers were already crowding into Times Square and looking ahead to the start of the New Year. But is Times Square ready for them?
For years, the celebration has been a relatively crime-free event.
That’s due mostly to what the partygoers don’t necessarily notice: Police blanketing the area, working from a security plan specifically tailored for the night.
The NYPD is bucking up its efforts and that includes: helicopters in the sky, patrol boats on the water and thousands of police officers on the streets.
Crews were busy Thursday setting up barricades, sealing manholes and collecting newspaper boxes.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is confident that Kelly and company will keep things in order.
“I expect to have a great time. There are rules. No backpacks, no alcohol, you gotta behave,” Bloomberg said. The 20-inch snowstorm that left the streets far from Times Square unplowed will be a memory to the crowd. Crews have removed the large drifts and warm temperatures are helping to melt what’s left.
“They did a good job over here,” Congers, New York resident Patrick McHugh said. “Elsewhere, there’s snow everywhere.”
“It’s exciting and it’s really bright, and, well, there’s a lot of really famous people coming,” Ally McHugh said.
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