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Ball drops on frigid NYE

The glittering crystal ball dropped with a burst of confetti and dazzling fireworks as revelers rang in 2018 in frigid Times Square — the second-coldest celebration there on record.

It was -12 C in the city, and the celebration was less crowded than other years. Some of the metal pens, usually packed with people, were only partially full. Bundled up in hats, gloves, face masks and numerous layers of clothing, partygoers danced and hugged and kissed as the ball dropped.

Eva Santos, of New York, said she hoped 2018 would bring more unity "for our countries and other countries."

"I hope for a peaceful year and just love, I hope for more love," she said. "We're hoping for better things to come. Our country needs to get better."

New Yorker Colleen Keenan was with her son Kevin Keenan and his friend Devin Wright when midnight hit.

"It is a beautiful experience. There's nothing like it, nothing at all like it," she said as the ball dropped. "Times Square is the place to be on New Year's Eve, that's for sure. Now everyone is going to get drunk and get warm."

Wright, of Long Beach, California, said she was "intoxicatingly in love with every moment of today."

"I'm freezing, but it's worth it," she said. "Every second in this miserable cold is worth it."

Mariah Carey made it through her set on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest" after bungling the performance last year. She dressed in a floor-length gown and a furry white coat, performing her 1990s hits "Vision of Love" and "Hero."

The dazzling finale of the show was the traditional drop of a Waterford Crystal ball down a pole atop 1 Times Square.

This year, the ball was 12 feet (3.5 metres) in diameter, weighed 11,875 pounds (5,385 kilograms) and was covered with 2,688 triangles that change colours like a kaleidoscope, illuminated by 32,256 LED lights. 

After two terrorist attacks and a rampaging SUV driver who plowed into a crowd on the very spot where the party takes place, police were taking no chances. Security was tighter than ever before. Garages in the area were sealed off. Detectives were stationed at area hotels working with security officials to prevent sniper attacks.

Thousands of uniformed officers lined the streets. Concrete blocks and sanitation trucks blocked vehicles from entering the secure area where spectators gathered. Partygoers passed through one of a dozen checkpoints where they were screened and then screened again as they made their way to the main event.



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