NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A teeming, cheering crowd of 1 million filled Times Square as the ball dropped in Times Square, as New York City and the world said goodbye to 2012 and welcomed a new year and a clean slate for 2013.

Two thousand twelve was a harrowing year in the Tri-State Area, particularly in the closing months.

In late October, Superstorm Sandy devastated the entire region, leaving large parts of the Long Island, the Jersey Shore, the Rockaways and Staten Island in ruins, knocking out power to entire communities for weeks, and sparking a fire that destroyed 111 homes in Breezy Point, Queens.

The woes from the storm were far from over as the New Year arrived for many areas. In Broad Channel, Queens, New Year’s was not an occasion for champagne and noisemakers, but for a somber celebration of survival.

“This is the season to rejoice, but when you walk around you see so much devastation going on, how do you rejoice?” said Broad Channel resident Tony Scimeca.

And in mid-December, with the horrors of Superstorm Sandy still raw, tragedy and terror struck again in the area when a lone gunman stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., leaving 20 children and six adults dead. The gunman, Adam Lanza, then took his own life, and also shot and killed his mother before beginning the carnage.

As the New Year began, the debate was raging among lawmakers on how to prevent such a horror from happening again. President Obama and other lawmakers have called for greater restrictions on guns — including a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban that was enacted in 2004 – while the National Rifle Association has called instead for preserving gun rights and placing an armed guard in every school.

But while New Yorkers continued to keep those who suffered losses and tragedies in 2012 in their hearts Monday night, they also took time out for revelry as they looked forward a new year to come.

The revelers watched as a crystal ball lit up with more than 32,000 LED lights dropped, following a show featuring Carly Rae Jepsen, Psy, and other stars of the contemporary world of entertainment.

When midnight struck, more than a ton of confetti rained down on revelers. The tiny pieces of paper carried the hopes and dreams of people from all over the world, and there were names that went with them.

“I hope for a happy year, also for my mother good luck with the traveling because she wants to do another trip to the U.S. She was here for her first time and really hopes that she enjoys the next year,” said Regina from Austria, who fit all of that on her tiny piece of confetti.

She hopes whoever catches her hopes and dreams finds love and good health in the new year.

“A happy and healthy new year, of course. That’s it. Simple,” a man named George said.

“All the disasters and the bad things that happened in 2012, we want to forget about them all. Just forget about them and move forward to 2013 and everything is going to be beautiful this coming year,” his wife Pat told 1010 WINS reporter Gary Baumgarten.

What are your hopes for 2013? Leave your comments below…


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