Crowds braved freezing temperatures to watch the New Year’s Eve Ball drop in New York’s Times Square to mark the start of 2018.
STORY: Intrepid revelers from around the world endured hours of waiting in a frigid Times Square on Sunday to witness the glittering New Year’s Eve ball make its annual descent at midnight, undeterred and perhaps reassured by a massive police presence.
With New York City in the grip of a bitterly cold Arctic air mass, the experience was made particularly memorable this year for hundreds of thousands of people who braved the bone-chilling conditions to witness a century-old tradition.
In the waning hours of 2017, the mercury had plunged to 10 Fahrenheit, with a “Real Feel” of 7F, according to AccuWeather.com. That made it the city’s second-coldest New Year’s Eve on record after 1917, when the mercury in Times Square dropped to 1F (-17C).
About 2 million people were expected in the vicinity of Times Square, the bow-tie-shaped plaza formed by the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan. That was roughly same number as last year, when the temperature at midnight was a comfortable 44F (7C).
The crowds counted down the final hours of 2017 with a lineup of live musical acts including Nick Jonas, Neil Diamond and Andy Grammer.
Then came the long-awaited ball drop, a tradition that dates to 1907, three years after New Yorkers started gathering en masse in Times Square to usher in the new year. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane danced to the recorded music of Frank Sinatra singing, “New York, New York,” that was broadcast into the square over loudspeakers.
Thousands of police were on hand, some heavily armed, others undercover. The show of force is part of a beefed-up security plan that follows a spate of attacks in the city and around the world that authorities have labeled as terrorist.
The NYPD provided officers with specialized training to stop any suicide bombers in response to an attempted bombing in a Times Square subway station walkway on Dec. 11.
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