Security Preparations Also


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Waterford crystal ball is ready for its New Year’s close-up.

The glittering 11,875-pound ball was tested Tuesday ahead of the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, where tens of thousands of revelers are expected to ring in 2015.

Workers coiled massive cables as the ball went up and down the flagpole atop One Times Square. Multi-colored lights flickered.

“I’ve been doing this 20 years and it just gets bigger and better every year,” Jeffrey Straus with Countdown Entertainment told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.

As CBS2’s Kris Van Kleave reported, the ball is encrusted with more than 2,600 Waterford crystals. New Year’s most famous ornament weighs in at nearly 12,000-lbs.

Meanwhile, security is expected to be tight in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, with radiation detectors and scores of police officers on the scene for Wednesday’s countdown to the new year.

As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, the NYPD was preparing to deploy thousands of officers throughout the city.

“We will be patrolling the city by air, by sea, on the ground, and in the subway system,” Chief of Department Jim O’Neil said.

Bomb sniffing dogs were also on patrol as officers were out in force and barricades were delivered.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond got a rare look inside the NYPD’s joint operations center where six giant TV screens broadcast a bird’s eye view of Times Square.

“This sophisticated network of closed-circuit TV feeds 911 calls, suspicious package alerts, and radiation level readings. This works in real time to send messages to police and security personnel,” O’Neil added.

On the ground, O’Neil said visitors will see heavily armed counterterrorism teams and bomb sniffing dogs, rooftop patrols and NYPD helicopters.

“This event is a major commitment by the department,” he said.

A new concern this year: the potential for demonstrations.

“We have a detail set up for that as we’ve had over the last five or six weeks,” O’Neil said.

In light of recent threats against officers, extra precautions will be taken.

“As we take the police officers out, we remind them they have to look out for each other.

On Tuesday, Times Square was already packed with tourists from around the world. Organizers expect up to a million people to ring in the new year.

“We wanted to see the ball drop. We wanted it to be an amazing experience,” Lucy Brewer said.

“It seems like one of those days in New York when everyone is as friendly as they can be. You don’t hear about riots or crazy stuff in New York. Everybody is happy and singing and having a great time welcoming the new year,” Josh Fulp said.

This year, performances are planned by Taylor Swift and Magic! Ryan Seacrest will host the countdown.

Idina Menzel will also sing “Let It Go” — something many want to do after a difficult 2014.

Producers of the big show rehearsed the ball drop on Tuesday and hoisted the ball into place.

“Something as apaprently simple as a ball dropping down a pole has this deeper resonance for people,” Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

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