New York City sanitation crews spent the first morning of 2021 on Friday cleaning up an estimated 30 tons of confetti and other debris off the streets of Times Square just hours after a dramatically scaled-back New Year’s celebration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sanitation Department deployed 67 workers who were helped by 14 sanitation officers to clean up the streets before dawn on Friday – less than half of the 177 workers and 33 officers that were needed after the massive celebration a year ago.
The city’s Sanitation Department includes officers who perform limited law enforcement duties.
During pre-pandemic and routine celebrations last year, hundreds of thousands packed the area in and around Times Square for the annual ball drop, leaving behind 60 tons of confetti and debris.
Times Square is a virtual ghost town early on Friday morning – just hours after a subdued, scaled down New Year’s celebration
New York City Sanitation Department crews are seen above cleaning up the debris on Friday morning hours after the New Year’s celebration
The department estimates that between 20 and 30 tons of confetti and debris were removed from the streets of Times Square early on Friday morning
But that was before the world was rocked by a global pandemic that virtually shut down nightlife and kept most people indoors.
Thursday night’s festivities were limited to just 39 families in attendance at Times Square.
The guests, who received special invites, were made up of health care workers and other heroes of 2020.
Millions watched from home as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio danced with his wife onstage.
Sanitation crews are seen above sweeping the streets of Times Square just after dawn on Friday morning
The Sanitation Department deployed 67 workers who were helped by 14 sanitation officers to clean up the streets before dawn on Friday
The smaller crews seen on Friday numbered less than half of the 177 workers and 33 officers that were needed after the massive celebration a year ago
Thursday night’s New Year’s festivities were limited to just 39 families in attendance at Times Square
Confetti and other debris are seen above strewn across the pavement in New York’s Times Square on Friday morning
A sanitation worker uses a leaf blower to clear out confetti scattered on the sidewalk of New York City’s Times Square on Friday morning
The ball that dropped when the clock struck midnight on Friday, ushering in 2021, is seen above Times Square on Friday
A couple takes an early morning stroll through a desolate Times Square in New York City on Friday morning
De Blasio was seen pushing the button to start the crystal ball’s descent as New York’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, stood by his side.
The pair then danced into the new year onstage.
The mayor later tweeted that ‘as a city, as a community, we have been through so much this year’.
‘We showed our resolve and proved New York City will come back stronger than ever,’ he wrote in the caption of an image showing him and his wife dancing.
This year, the time-honored tradition was modified amid the ongoing pandemic, with members of the public prohibited from gathering in the area for the first time since the ball-drop began back in 1907.
However, modest throngs of people gathered just outside the police perimeter, which took on the feel of a tailgate as midnight neared. Many said they wanted to end a challenging year on their own terms.
Three hours later, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the rest of the West Coast also marked the end to the year in muted fashion, with California currently in the grips of a huge spike in coronavirus cases.
On Los Angeles’ Venice Beach, an unusually large crowd of people gathered to cheer the final sunset of the year over the pacific, and to say goodbye to 2020. The gleam of Las Vegas also brought large crowds, with thousands of people walking on the Strip by early evening despite a plea from the governor to avoid gatherings.
NEW YORK CITY: Times Square is usually at the center of the world’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, with tens of thousands of people packing in to the commercial hub every December 31st to watch the ball drop at midnight
This year, the time-honored tradition was modified amid the ongoing pandemic, with members of the public prohibited from gathering in the area for the first time since the ball-drop began back in 1907
The year of the COVID-19 pandemic has officially ended with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (pictured with his wife) dropping the ball in an eerily empty Times Square as millions of Americans watched the annual event from home
De Blasio is seen pushing the button to allow the crystal ball to descend just before 12am
De Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray were then seen dancing on stage after the mayor set the ball drop in motion
MIAMI: In Miami, Florida, several people were seen partying at the Blue Martini Club Thursday night. Pictured: Partiers including Youtube and IG model Yocancallmestacey celebrate first New Years since the Covid outbreak
LAS VEGAS: A couple kisses as they celebrate New Year’s Eve along the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada
In New York City, small groups of revelers, some wearing glittery hats, filmed their distant view of Times Square on their phones and broke out in cheers at midnight.
There were kisses and toasts, but police quickly broke up the crowds gathered along Broadway after the ball fell.
One reveler, Daniel Camacho, 36, of Manhattan, described the experience as ‘anticlimactic’ given the small crowd.
‘I’m just glad it’s over,’ he said of 2020.
Others who passed through the area in the hours before midnight said the celebration was a melancholy one.
‘It makes me a little bit sad,’ said Cole Zieser, who recently moved to New York City and was looking forward to ‘what everyone dreams about in New York.’
Merchants in the area were also lamenting the lack of crowds.
‘It’s dead,’ said Ali Jameel early Thursday, who owns a store a block from Times Square. ‘We are dreaming for it to come back again like before.’
Earlier on Thursday, de Blasio told reporters ‘It’s going to be actually, arguably, the most special, the most poignant, the most moving New Year’s Eve.’
A man chugged a bottle of alcohol when the clock struck 12am Friday morning in New York’s Times Square
Attendees watch a performance near Times Square during 2021 New Year’s Eve celebrations on Thursday in New York City
Revelers lit fireworks during a modified celebration of New Year’s Day near Times Square on Thursday
A few dozen people did gather near Times Square Thursday night wearing colorful hats and 2021 glasses
Many appeared to be wearing masks as others took the opportunity to pose for photos
A man is seen wearing 2021 glasses ahead of the ball drop in New York City’s Times Square
A man is seen wearing 2021 glasses while standing near the Times Square area on Thursday
People gather in Midtown Manhattan to pose for photos ahead of the New Year’s Eve celebrations
Several people were seen wearing decorative 2021 hats near the Times Square area Thursday night
Children are seen with decorative accessories as they pose for a photo near Times Square on Thursday
‘In 2021, we’re going to show people what it looks like to recover, to come back,’ the mayor added.
Shortly after the ball dropped, TV host Andy Cohen slammed de Blasio for how he’s handled issues in the city.
‘I just don’t need to see that at the beginning of 2021,’ Cohen said, referring to de Blasio and his wife dancing. ‘Do something with this city!’ Cohen said as CNN’s Anderson Cooper laughed.
‘Honestly get it together,’ Cohen yelled.
Others also took to social media to slam de Blasio for his leadership over the Big Apple.
‘@NYCMayor way to ruin NYE in NYC. You should be ashamed of yourself,’ one person wrote.
Another shared: ‘2020 was just another year during which @NYCMayor destroyed NYC.’
I’m not gonna lie — an absolutely plastered Andy Cohen torching Bill de Blasio as a terrible mayor of New York City is the absolute perfect start to 2021.
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) January 1, 2021
Some celebrity performers took to stages set up in the mostly empty square to sing to a small group of masked essential workers.
In the final minutes before midnight, Jennifer Lopez sang the Aerosmith classic Dream On beneath a blast of confetti.
A brief burst of fireworks blasted and more confetti flew as the countdown hit midnight.
The only people allowed into the area were media and invited first responders who have been hailed as the ‘Heroes of 2020.’
The audience also saw performances by Miley Cyrus and Megan Thee Stallion.
‘I think I feel hopeful. It can’t get much worse than the last year,’ 31-year-old actress and nanny Jordan Mann, of Brooklyn, said.
‘I’m just really hoping that we have a lot more wisdom next year from the leaders in our country and that they’ll actually be able to help us out,’ she said.
People wearing protective mask look for the Times Square ball near Times Square during the virtual New Year’s Eve event
A couple kisses near Times Square during the virtual New Year’s Eve event on Thursday
Groups of people were seen watching a performance near Times Square during the 2021 New Year’s Eve celebrations
Mounted New York City police officers are seen in Times Square ahead of the New Year’s Eve celebrations
People celebrated at the East Village Social restaurant earlier on Thursday before establishments closed at 10pm
People prepare to celebrate the new year at Washington Square Park on Thursday in New York
A man dances on Avenue A in the East Village on New Year’s Eve in New York
Bars and restaurants were closed at 10pm on New Year’s Eve in New York City due to the coronavirus pandemic
Nicholas Castellanos proposed to his girlfriend, Daniella Arcila, minutes before New Year’s Day in New York City
Several people, some wearing masks and some not, gathered near Times Square to watch the ball drop on Thursday
People are seen celebrating the holiday in New York City near Times Square on Thursday
A couple gazed into each other’s eyes as they watched the ball drop on a street near Times Square on Thursday
People were seen having fun during the New Year’s Eve celebrations despite them being modified due to COVID-19
On Thursday afternoon Times Square was eerily empty, with the area cordoned off to the public and police patrolling nearby sidewalks to enforce social distancing.
The Big Apple is battling against a second wave of COVID-19 infections, as well as soaring rates of violent crime, an uptick in closing businesses, and a drastic drop in revenue.
Hopes for a brighter 2021 have been dampened by news of a dismally slow roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine, with a paltry 29.7 per cent of available doses administered across New York as of Wednesday.
New Year’s Eve celebrations first began in Times Square back in 1907, and people have gathered there every year since.
The party was held in Miami while all other major cities were not allowing indoor activity ahead of New Year’s Day
Revelers are seen having a few drinks during the party Thursday night in Miami
A waitress is seen holding up a bottle as she walked around the Blue Martini Club in Miami on Thursday
Some partygoers were seen wearing 2021 Happy New Year hats as they sat down at the club
LAS VEGAS: A couple embrace as they see in the New Year on the Las Vegas strip after the clock ticked past midnight
LAS VEGAS: People gather to watch the fountains outside the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas on New Years Eve
LAS VEGAS: The gleam of Las Vegas also brought larges crowds, with thousands of people walking on the Strip by early evening despite a plea from the governor to avoid gatherings. Pictured: A couple kisses as they celebrate New Year’s Eve along the Las Vegas Strip
President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office in January, sounded a positive note as the US, the worst-hit country by COVID-19, is nearing 20 million recorded infections and 345,000 deaths.
‘I’m more optimistic about America’s chances than I’ve ever been,’ he said in a video interview on ABC’s countdown program.
‘America can do anything and I’m absolutely positively confident, confident we’re gonna come back and come back even stronger than we were before.’
However, for many weary New Yorkers, there does not seem much to celebrate.
On Wednesday, The Big Apple reported its highest ever daily increase in coronavirus cases, with nearly 6,000 new infections confirmed across the five boroughs.
Hospitalizations and deaths are also increasing at an alarming rate. Gov Andrew Cuomo is now preparing to reopen the Javits Center field hospital, designed to treat an influx of COVID cases.
In Florida, President Donald Trump’s friends and family members gathered at his Mar-a-Lago estate for his annual New Year’s Eve gala.
Trump and First Lady Melania were forced to forgo the festivities on Thursday to resolve the highly-anticipated COVID relief bill in Washington, but still hosted hundreds of guests at the Palm Beach resort.
Meanwhile in Florida, Donald Trump’s children gathered at his Mar-a-Lago estate for his annual New Year’s Eve gala on Thursday
Eric Trump, 36, shared a photo alongside wife Lara as they celebrated the end of 2020 at the Palm Beach resort
Other members of the Trump clan were seen dressed to the nines as they gathered at the opulent ballroom to ring in the new year.
Earlier in the evening, the president’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr, who turned 43 on Thursday, and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle shared a video message wishing everyone a happy new year from the venue.
‘We just wanted to wish you guys an incredible new year. Obviously 2020 has been a little bit nuts and rather crazy, I don’t think anyone’s going to be upset about moving on from this one,’ Don Jr, said.
Trump’s younger son, Eric, 36, also shared a picture posing alongside wife Lara at the party. Lara donned a glittery green evening gown while he wore a black tuxedo and white bow tie.
Among the slew of guests was Rep Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who recently proposed to his girlfriend Ginger Luckey.
Tickets to the event were going for $1,000 each, one person attending the gala told DailyMail.com. A person has to be a member of Mar-a-Lago or a guest of a member in order to attend.
Many in the US and other countries are celebrating from home or with modified events as cases of the virus continue to rise. Tyler Owens toasts to a new year with his wife Olivia Owens in St Louis, Missouri
Female impersonator Gary Marion, known as Sushi, waves to a small group of revelers after descending in a large replica of a woman’s high-heel shoe in the back courtyard of a Key West, Florida, entertainment and hotel complex, late Thursday. Normally held on Duval Street at midnight, the New Year’s Eve Shoe Drop was moved behind Key West’s Bourbon St Pub
Sunday River guests watch the fireworks display on the side of the ski trails to ring in the New Year on Thursday in Newry, Maine. All festivities stopped promptly at 9pm in accordance with state guidelines
Skiers descend the Broadway Trail at Sunday River in a New Year’s Eve torchlight parade on Thursday in Newry, Maine
It’s unclear how many people attended this year’s New Year’s Eve gathering, but at least 500 people had reserved tickets by Wednesday, CNN reported. Hundreds of people typically attend. The main ballroom can hold 700 people and there are smaller ballrooms available to add to the crowd size.
The New Year’s Eve gala is an annual tradition that pre-dates Trump’s time in the White House. Last year, Trump walked the red carpet with his wife Melania and their son Barron.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner also attended with their children. Eric Trump and Lara Trump were also there as were Tiffany Trump and her boyfriend Michael Boulos.
Also in Florida, impersonator Gary Marion, known as Sushi, performed Thursday night during the New Year’s Eve Shoe Drop.
Normally held on Duval Street at midnight, the event was moved behind Key West’s Bourbon St Pub and occurred several hours early to comply with a mandatory 10pm curfew that Key West city officials ordered to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus.
Festivities in Newry, Maine, began promptly at 9pm and consisted of fireworks at the Sunday River resort.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk