NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Times Square fully reopened Friday morning after a throng of 1 million revelers rang in the New Year with raucous cheers and a blizzard of confetti.
Department of Sanitation crews quickly moved in as soon as partygoers cleared out, using leaf blowers and street sweepers to clean the garbage left behind.
Last year, the DSNY removed more than 48 tons of debris.
Friday morning, the main stage was empty after hosting the biggest New Year’s celebration in the world, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
“It was a great experience,” said spectator Janessa Williams. “Everybody should go at least once!”
Revelers from around the world had waited hours at the famed Crossroads, some since before dawn, for the countdown. Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed the button to send a 11,875-pound Waterford crystal ball into its minute-long decent.
PHOTOS: New Year’s Eve In Times Square
As the clock struck midnight, cheers erupted as fireworks shot into the sky and people shared hugs and their first kisses of the year.
“You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced Times Square on New Year’s,” said Eric Robertson, 25, of Philadelphia.
“It feels really good,” another partygoer said. “It’s going to be a good year.”
Also in the crowd were more than 6,000 uniformed and undercover NYPD officers.
Officers from the NYPD’s elite emergency services unit surveyed the scene from Times Square rooftops, peering below through binoculars and scopes as snipers stood beside them. Heavily armed officers carrying tactical rifles stood on nearly every corner for blocks as police helicopters buzzed overhead after checking in on other parts of the city, including the World Trade Center and Statue of Liberty.
Some in the crowd admitted to being nervous to gather in such a famous location in the weeks after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.
Just hours earlier Thursday, an ex-con was charged in upstate New York with planning to carry out a New Year’s Eve attack at a bar to prove he was worthy of joining the Islamic State terror group. That case prompted the city to cancel its New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration.
Others were heartened by the massive security presence for the party to send off 2015.
“Security has been great,” said Morgan Jameson from Virginia. “Thank you NYPD for the extra measures you’ve gone to this year, this is an awesome experience.”
The festivities also included musical acts by Carrie Underwood, Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato and temperatures that, to the relief of the bundled-up spectators, stayed well above freezing.
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