NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Yorkers rang in 2017 with balloons, cheers and festivity as the ball dropped in Times Square early Sunday morning.
An estimated 1 million people crowded into Times Square for the festivities, according to the Associated Press.
The celebration came as a major terror attack struck a New Year’s celebration overseas. Early Sunday morning local time, a gunman believed to have been dressed as Santa Claus opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul and killed at least 35 people.
But police emphasized afterward that there were no credible threats targeting New York and Times Square, and revelers with their balloons and high spirits were not deterred.
Still, security was extra tight this year — with 7,000 police officers on hand, vapor-sniffing dogs, and everyone is searched on the way in.
For the first time, 65 huge sanitation trucks full of sand were set up to block key intersections to prevent a terrorist truck attack – in the wake of the attacks this year in Nice, France and Berlin, Germany.
But all that didn’t keep the throng away. Many were comforted by the NYPD presence.
“They’ve been a doing all their checks; making sure that the people are screened correctly, and I think it’s awesome. New York — NYPD is doing a great job,” said Lenny Roden of Augusta, Georgia.
WCBS 880’s Myles Miller talked with Sanitation Department Commissioner Kathryn Garcia about the preparations Saturday.
“It’s not like we can show up and get through the crowds. We need to be there on site immediately, so as soon as PD starts to clear Times Square, we’re able to get going,” Garcia said.
Garcia said there is another countdown that is also pretty important for New Yorkers on New Year’s.
“We actually don’t have a lot of time before folks want traffic back flowing,” she said.
And the ball drop was not the only momentous event for the New Year in New York. At noon on Sunday, the Second Avenue Subway will officially open as an extension of the Q Train between 63rd and 96th streets – a mere 98 years after it was first proposed.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo took an inaugural ride on the line around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, along with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Metropolitan Transportation Chairman Thomas Prendergast, and other officials.
“Now that you have subway service on the East Side of Manhattan, those people won’t have to go to other lines,” Cuomo said, “so it will reduce pressures on the entire system.”
The long-anticipated subway will extend the Q train north to 96th Street. The W Train has been revived to take over the Q Train’s former route in Queens.
On Sunday at 11:30 a.m., the MTA and the Second Avenue Merchants Association will pass out free MetroCards to riders near the new subway on a first-come, first-serve basis.
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