NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New levels of security are being added to Times Square to protect the more than 1 million people that police expect to celebrate the New Year’s Eve ball drop Monday night.
“People will be safe on Monday, and they should feel safe, too,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said.
Officials have announced that thousands of police officers will be on patrol as people flood into Times Square to watch the festivities.
It’s a New Year’s Eve tradition spanning more than a century.
Earlier this week, workers finished installing the 12,000-pound ball’s crystal paneling ahead of the big night. A day after testing the confetti, in which there will be more than 3,000 pounds released on Monday night, officials gave the ball a spin, just to make sure everything is ready.
“Watching the practice of the ball drop was awesome,” tourist Mark Jensen said, adding, “That was a great, great bonus for sure.”
WEB EXTRA: Workers in Times Square put the finishing touches on this year’s celebration:
Past years have seen Times Square protected by officers with long guns, K-9 units, bag searches, and sanitation trucks blocking off access to normally busy New York City streets, and that will be the case again Monday night.
This year’s beefed-up security includes something new — extra eyes in the sky. The NYPD announced it is deploying drones to help guard the event. They will join a network of more than 1,200 cameras trained on the celebration, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
“We haven’t done that before, but that’s gonna give us a visual aid and flexibility,” John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, said of the drones.
Last year’s celebration was on high alert because of an attempted terror attack just weeks earlier. New York entered 2018 still on edge after a pipe bomb partially detonated at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Anyone planning to celebrate is being urged to arrive early before the NYPD closes off the area Monday evening. Closures to traffic will begin at 38th Street, and, depending on how crowded it gets and how fast, expect vehicles to be ordered off Broadway and/or Seventh Avenue as early as 3 p.m., Carlin reported.
Remember, you cannot bring large bags or umbrellas. As for bathrooms, don’t count on finding many.