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Crowds pack into a frigid Times Square for 2018 celebration

Dec. 31, 2017 at 10:54 p.m.


NEW YORK (AP) — New Yorkers, celebrity entertainers and tourists from around the world packed into a frigid Times Square Sunday to mark the start of 2018 with a glittering crystal ball drop, a burst of more than a ton of confetti and midnight fireworks.

It was only 14 degrees in the city by late afternoon — already making it one of the coldest celebrations on record. Security was at an all-time high after a year that saw several fatal attacks on large crowds, including one in Times Square itself last spring.

Remle Scott, 22, and her boyfriend Brad Whittaker, 22, of San Diego arrived shortly after 9 a.m., saying they were trying to keep a positive attitude as temperatures hovered in the teens. Each was wearing several layers of clothing.

"Our toes are frozen, so we're just dealing with it by dancing." Scott said.

Some wore red scarves that read "Happy New Year" and others donned yellow and purple hats as a pizza deliveryman sold pies to the hungry crowd.

In a prime viewing spot near 42nd Street, Alexander Ebrahim grinned as he looked around at the flashing lights of Times Square.

"I always saw it on TV, so I thought why not come out and see it in person," said the 19-year-old from Orange County, California. "It's an experience you can never forget."

Michael Waller, 45, made a snap decision on Saturday evening to drive straight from Columbus, Ohio. He made it to Times Square at 8 a.m. and waited all day in front of the ball.

"I didn't want to stay home for this, by myself," he said.

When the first ball drop happened in 1907, it was made of iron and wood and adorned with 100 25-watt light bulbs. The first celebration in the area was in 1904.

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