NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Come Sunday night, there will be an anticipated 2 million people in Times Square counting down to 2018.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, everyone heading to Times Square will have to go through bag checks and metal detectors twice once they arrive. There will also be more security than ever before.
“I’ve been trying to save money to come to New York to enjoy this experience,” Olvah Alhamid said.
Nothing says New Year’s quite like Times Square.
After three attacks to New York since last summer, including the Halloween truck terror and subway explosion earlier this month, the mayor said there will be an unprecedented level of protection as revelers count down to the crystal ball drop.
“Terrorists regard New York as the exact kind of place they want to disrupt, and New Yorkers respond consistently with strength and resiliency,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
New Yorkers are used to seeing heavily armed counterterrorism officers and dump trucks filled with sand parked around any high profile event in recent years.
After the Las Vegas attack in October, when a gunman killed 58 concertgoers from his hotel window, officers will also patrol hotel lobbies.
“Every hotel within the Times Square area will have uniformed officers assigned to those hotels working hand in hand with hotel security,” NYPD Chief of Patrol, Terry Monahan said.
Police are closing down Midtown to traffic on Sunday at 11 a.m. After that, all 125 parking garages in the nucleus of Midtown will be shut and sealed until Monday.
“Cars will not be allowed in or to come out,” Monahan said.
Spectators walking to view pens will be screened twice. No big bags, umbrellas, or coolers will be allowed.
Police snipers will keep watch from windows, helicopters from above, and K9 units will be on the ground, along with plainclothes officers among the crowds.
Many were heartened by the extra security.
“It does feel really safe, really safe,” Tammy Redford of England told Bauman. “Lots of police –it’s brilliant.”
“Lots of police presence — lots of barricades, and everyone seems to be doing OK,” said Juan Ibarra of Pittsburgh.
“Saw the boys in blue out, so I feel safe,” Kyle Zimmer said.
“Last time we came was about 10 years ago, and it seems like there’s more security this time,” Betty Myer added.
For some, the threat of danger is too much to attend.
“With the things going on now, I don’t think it’d be safe or a good idea for a lot of people to come and see the ball drop,” said Karina Paz of Maspeth, Queens.
“We’re not going to see the ball drop because I don’t feel totally safe about that,” Tara Chittenden said.
It is expected to be very cold Sunday night, which makes checking for weapons even more challenging for police since people will mostly be in big puffy coats.
The NYPD will be joined by the FBI, state police, and visitors who are asked that if they see something, say something.