NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Times Square had the crowds and the famous ball drop, but Brooklynites said Coney Island offered just as much festivity when its New Year’s Eve celebration debuted this year.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Councilman Mark Treyger and the Alliance for Coney Island hosted the event Wednesday night.

“I was always wishing for something like this in Coney Island,” said neighborhood resident Miriam Hardett.

“Who needs Times Square?” added John Smertiuk of the Lower East Side. “Got it right here in Brooklyn, baby!”

The event featured fireworks, some of the neighborhood’s famous sideshow performers and its own version of a ball drop — a digital countdown light display on the Parachute Jump. The 262-foot, red steel tower was once an amusement ride with parachutes, but has not been in use as a ride since 1964.

“In the normal ball drop in Times Square, you’re squashed like sardines,” Adams told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. “In this ball drop, you’re coming to the County of Kings and you’ll be treated with royalty.”

There was hope that publicity would draw a crowd, CBS2’s Steve Langford reported.

“There’s been a lot of buzz on Facebook; all over the news, so hopefully, a lot of people show up tonight,” said Steven Diaz, who served as the DJ at the event.

Olivia McLean came all the way from Australia to attend the Coney Island event.

“Times Square is notoriously packed out – apparently there’s a million people there – so we thought Coney Island might have something to offer us,” she said.

Michael Garrett is from just down the block.

“This is the first-year anniversary. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m happy about that,” he said. “I hope all Coney Island residents come out and support this thing and do it in peace.”

Adams said police officers are expected to join in leading the 10-second countdown to 2015.

Brooklyn also boasts a New Year’s Eve fireworks display over Grand Army Plaza, near Prospect Park.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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