Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Veronica Boshen and Brittany Wells, of Allentown, Pa., pose for a photo with their 2014 glasses while waiting for the celebration to begin in Times Square on New Year's Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
New Year’s in Times Square is endurance contest
First Published Dec 31 2013 06:39 pm • Last Updated Jan 01 2014 08:05 pm

NEW YORK • Crowds jammed New York’s Times Square on Tuesday to ring in 2014, braving bone-chilling cold and ultra-tight security for the chance to see Miley Cyrus, a final countdown from a U.S. Supreme Court justice and the drop of the shimmering crystal ball.

The sea of horn-tooting, hat-wearing humanity that filled the Crossroads of the World was part celebration, part endurance sport because post-9/11 security measures force spectators into pens at least 12 hours in advance, with no food, no warmth and no place to go to the bathroom.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"We’ve got adult diapers. We’re wearing them right now," said 14-year-old Amber Woods, who came with friends from the New York City’s suburbs to experience the event for the first time. They entered their corral at 10 a.m. For nourishment, they brought lollipops and popcorn. For the cold, they did a lot of jumping in place.

"Every time I say, it’s the last. But then I come back," said Yasmina Merrir, a 42-year-old Washington, D.C., resident attending her fourth Times Square ball drop. In 2009, the cold was so bad, she got hypothermia. Her legs swelled up like balloons.

She was also fasting and not drinking anything to deal with the lack of restrooms. As for the cold, she recommends vigorous dancing for as long as you can stand on your feet.

"At a point," she said, "your brain is not working anymore."

New York’s midnight celebration came as millions welcomed the new year in cities around the world, including jubilant events in London, where the fireworks came packed with edible confetti, and Dubai, which attempted to stage the world’s largest fireworks display.

Brianna Becerril, a 21-year-old singer and songwriter from Chino, Calif., persuaded her grandparents to join her at Times Square. As evening fell, they huddled together for warmth under big, furry hats, dined on cold chicken nuggets and drank nothing so they wouldn’t have to leave to find a toilet.

"It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!" Becerril said.

"Once in a lifetime for me, for sure. I mean, if I even survive. I can’t wait to get out of here," said her smiling grandfather, Jerry Bender. But, he said, he was enjoying getting to know their neighbors in the pen, many of whom hailed from distant countries.


story continues below
story continues below

Even when she lived in Algeria in North Africa, Merrir said, she knew that Times Square was the place the world celebrated best on New Year’s Eve.

"It’s Times Square! It’s the ball!" she said. "The fireworks may be better in Dubai, or in London, but this is extra special."

On the other side of the Atlantic, Britain welcomed 2014 with a mixture of futuristic fireworks and torch-lit tradition. For those in London, the event offered the opportunity to taste the fireworks.

The city’s mayor — in conjunction with telecommunications company Vodafone — said this year’s explosive display came packed with peach-flavored snow, edible banana confetti and orange-scented bubbles. The evening also included scratch-and-sniff programs, LED wristbands and fruit-flavored sweets.

In Dubai, a Persian Gulf city known for glitz, glamour and over-the-top achievements like the world’s tallest skyscraper, officials sought to break another record by creating the largest fireworks show.

The Dubai skyline was a canvas for a dazzling 30-minute show. The display capped off with six minutes of fireworks that engulfed the city’s man-made, palm-shaped island, with its fronds and trunk shimmering in thousands of lights.

Organizers had promised that the fireworks would form a flying falcon, a sunrise and the United Arab Emirates flag. It was not immediately clear if the promised designs or world record had been achieved.

The effort attempted to surpass the current world record held by another Gulf Arab state in just the first 60 seconds. Kuwait has held the record since last year, when it fired more than 77,000 fireworks in a display lasting more than an hour.

Guinness World Record officials were on hand to measure the scale of Dubai’s event, which needed to be longer than five minutes to qualify.

More than 260 people were injured by firecracker blasts and celebratory gunfire in the Philippines, a nation marking the end of a year of tragic disasters, including a Nov. 8 typhoon that left more than 6,100 dead and nearly 1,800 missing.

"Many here are welcoming the new year after losing their mothers, fathers, siblings and children so you can imagine how it feels," said village chief Maria Rosario Bactol of Anibong community in Tacloban, the city worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan. "I tell them to face the reality, to move on and stand up, but I know it will never be easy."

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.