An astounding one million revellers erupted in cheers amid a confetti-filled celebration in New York's Times Square to welcome in the new year, part of star-studded celebrations and glittering fireworks displays around the world to usher in 2012.
From New Zealand to New York, the world eagerly welcomed a new year Sunday and hoped for a better future, saying goodbye to a year of hurricanes, tsunamis and economic turmoil that many would rather forget.
In New York, hundreds of thousands gathered at the crossroads of the world to witness a crystal ball with more than 30,000 lights descended at midnight. Lady Gaga and Mayor Michael Bloomberg led the crowd in the final-minute countdown of the famed crystal-paneled ball drop.
Looking glittery as the orb itself, Lady Gaga was invited by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to press the crystal button at 11.59pm that triggered the decent of the 2012 New Year’s Eve Ball – a dazzling sphere 12 feet in diameter that weighs 11,875 pounds.
More than one ton of confetti – some of it inscribed with wishes for the New Year written by people across the globe –descended on the revellers in New York, who enjoyed an unseasonably warm New Year's.Dick Clark – who has hosted his New Year’s Eve special since the 1970s – is again being helped this year by his protege Ryan Seacrest for the 40th anniversary of the show. The ABC special has been expanded and now begins at 8pm, making the six-hour broadcast the longest ever.
The 82-year-old television personality suffered a stroke in 2004 and has stepped back in hosting duties in recent years. There has been wild speculation throughout the years if this year will be his last on Rockin’ Eve, though a spokesperson said he hopes that’s not the case.
More than 1,500 New York Police Department officers were patrolling the massive 17-block party to ensure everyone’s safety. They ensured security through the use of over 3,000 cameras and numerous check-points with bag inspections. Alcohol was also banned.
While the celebration officially kicked off at 6pm, many celebrators were there hours earlier to secure a prime spot. One California man was in his spot at 7am this morning.
‘It’s my first time and I want to have a good view,’ Peter Lin, a San Francisco State college student told the New York Daily News. ‘I didn’t want to be blocked by anybody.'
Many Americans across the nation will usher in the new year thinking that 2011 is a year they would rather forget. But as the country prepared for the celebration, glum wasn't on the agenda for many, even those that had a sour year.