New Year’s Day has arrived in the US to cheers from tens of thousands of beaming people in New York’s Times Square, who were showered with confetti and hugs and kisses after watching the descent of the colourful ball marking the birth of 2024.
Tickets for the event in London sold out and official viewing areas were full. Organisers finished checks on the pyrotechnics with more than 10,000 fireworks shooting up into the night’s sky after the Big Ben countdown.
The march of midnight from time zone to time zone brought the new year first to places like Australia, where more than 1 million people watched a pyrotechnic display centred around Sydney’s famous Opera House and harbour bridge — a number of spectators equivalent to one in five of the city’s residents.
After millions watched the spectacular displays in Sydney and Auckland, city mayor Sadiq Khan joked that the events would be “nothing” compared to London’s show.
He said planning on the event started in July, and over the last week 75 men and women have been “getting both sides of the River Thames ready”.
Watch spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks as London welcomes 2024
New Year's celebration sweeps across the globe, but wars cast a shadow on 2024
New Year’s Day arrived to cheers from tens of thousands of beaming people in New York’s Times Square who were showered with confetti and hugs and kisses after watching the descent of the colourful ball marking the birth of 2024 with hope for some, even as the world’s ongoing conflicts subdued celebrations and raised security concerns across the globe.
There were snapshots of joy from country to country as the new year was welcomed with optimism that its days will bring more joy than sorrow.
Before midnight arrived in Times Square, December Lee, 26, and Shadayah Lawrence, 25, of Columbus, Ohio, said their New York visit highlighted four years of traveling the globe.
“It is a good way to bring in the new year,” Mr Lee said.
A small army of thousands of police officers worked to keep New York City safe, just as heightened security had done in the cities midnight hit first. New York has seen near-daily protests sparked by the Israel-Hamas war.
Some 90,000 police and security officers were deployed around France including along Champs-Elysees Avenue, where large crowds took in a multidimensional light show projected onto the Arc de Triomphe showcasing the history of Paris and sports on the menu for next year’s Summer Olympics in the city.
‘Going well so far’ New Yorkers last to see in 2024
“It’s beautiful,” Corin Christian of Charlotte, North Carolina, said of the scene seconds past midnight as Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” blared from speakers in Times Square as thousands held cell phones in the air, trying to capture clock strike midnight.
“It’s going very well so far,” said Jacob Eriksson of Salt Lake City, Utah, with the earliest assessment of the New Year.
The march of midnight from time zone to time zone brought 2024 first to places like Australia, where more than 1 million people watched a pyrotechnic display centred around Sydney’s famous Opera House — a number of spectators equivalent to 1 in 5 of the city’s residents.
It would be another 16 hours before New York finished 2023.Also in Times Square, Tyrell Jacobs, 27, and Sarah Crayton, 26, arrived from New Orleans 15 hours before midnight and got engaged in streets packed with tens of thousands of people counting first the hours and then the minutes until midnight.
“It’s definitely a must-see,” Crayton said of the colourful cast of strangers nearby in tall hats and blowing noisemakers even before the ball dropped.
“At least go once, you know, just to experience the magic.”
Security tightened for New Year’s Eve celebrations after FBI warnings
Governor Kathy Hochul’s announcement comes about two weeks after the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a Public Service Announcement warning that threats of violence against the United States are likely heightened because of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
Threats of violence are heightened because of the Israel-Hamas war, the bureau has warned
How I’m celebrating a sober New Year’s Eve
The last night of the year is supposed to be one for celebration. But when you aren’t drinking, it can be a tricky thing to navigate. Christopher R Moore shares his experience of more than 1,000 days of being sober and what it means for New Year’s celebrations.
You can read the full article here
The last night of the year is supposed to be one for celebration, writes Christopher R Moore. But when you aren’t drinking, it can be a tricky thing to navigate
Thousands gather in Times Square for New Year ball drop
After standing in New York City’s Times Square for more than a dozen hours, thousands of revellers cheered in the New Year on Sunday night with the annual ceremony of a descending crystal-clad ball.
Many had arrived early in the morning for a spot in one of the barricaded pens set up by the New York Police Department, ahead of musical performances by Megan Thee Stallion and LL Cool J before the final countdown to midnight.
“This is my first time to celebrate the New Year in Times Square,” said Nadja Sjostrom, 44, who had travelled from Stockholm, Sweden, a few days earlier for the occasion and had been standing amid the giant illuminated billboards of Times Square since about 8am.
It was a shorter commute for Markus Washington, a 49-year-old resident of Brooklyn, but also his first time at the Times Square celebration.
“It’s a very good feeling,” he said. “Awesome. Cold, but awesome.”
Antonio Ruz, 51, had booked a flight from Granada, Spain, in order to make a lifelong dream come true, joining the crowds to get into the barricaded area at about 8.15am.
“Since I was a kid, I saw on TV this is spectacular show, so I had to live it,” he said. He called it a “once in a lifetime” moment, emphasizing that he did not plan to return. “I love New York, but 15 hours is too long to wait for a moment.”
In pictures: New York ringing in 2024
World welcomes 2024 with New Year's fireworks, reflection and a royal farewell
The world welcomed 2024 with a mix of celebration and somber reflection.
Sydney sparkled under a shower of silver and gold fireworks commemorating the 50th anniversary of its iconic Opera House, while the mood in Gaza remained bleak, with residents more concerned with survival. In Europe, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II announced her abdication after over half a century on the throne.
Russian president Vladimir Putin made only passing reference in New Year address to his war in Ukraine, hailing his soldiers as heroes but mostly emphasising unity and shared determination.
North Korea vowed to launch three new spy satellites, build military drones and boost its nuclear arsenal in 2024
At his Sunday prayers, Pope Francis said: “I wish everyone a peaceful end of the year, and please do not forget to pray for me”.
French president Emmanuel Macron in a televised address ahead of New Year celebrations said 2024 would be “the year of our French pride” marked by the Paris 2024 Olympic Summer Games and the reopening of Notre-Dame cathedral after a devastating fire.
At the stroke of midnight, the New Year gives a clean slate for long-elusive resolutions
It’s an annual end-of-year exercise in futility for many. But a clean slate awaits at the stroke of midnight for the next round of resolutions.
From the first spray of fireworks to the closing chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” 366 days into the future — 2024 is a leap year — it could be the year for finally achieving long-elusive goals, fulfilling aspirations and being resolute on all those New Year resolutions.
“As humans, we are creatures that aspire,” said Omid Fotuhi, a social psychologist who is a motivation and performance researcher.
“The fact that we have goals, the fact that we want to set goals is just a manifestation of that internal and almost universal desire to want to stretch, to want to reach, to want to expand and grow,” said Mr Fotuhi, the director of learning innovation at Western Governors University Labs and a research associate at the University of Pittsburgh.
“New Year’s resolutions are one of those ways in which we do that,” he said.
With any resolution, the goal is to improve your life and be in peace with yourself, say many, as they look for a clean slate.
It’s an annual end-of-year exercise in futility for many
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