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10! ... 9! ... 8! ... Here comes New Year's in Times Square

Posted at 5:08 PM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 18:08:47-05

NEW YORK (AP) - A Chinese dance performance, punctuated with red and gold pyrotechnics, will usher in a host of stars at Times Square's six-hour New Year's Eve extravaganza on Tuesday night.

The throng of revelers in the heart of Manhattan will get to see rap-pop star Post Malone, K-pop group BTS, country singer Sam Hunt and singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette during the big street party.

Mariemma Mejias, 48, of San Juan Puerto Rico, said she flew to New York just for the New Year's festivities and got to Times Square bright and early.

"It was a dream, I wanted to do it so this year a lot of people helped me to get here so I'm here, and I'm thankful for that," Mejias said.

While giddiness will likely prevail at the televised event, some important global issues will be driven home, as well

The Associated Press will present a news reel highlighting some of the most memorable events of 2019.

High school science teachers and students, spotlighting efforts to combat climate change, will press the button that begins the famous 60-second ball drop and countdown to next year.

Then comes the 3,000 pounds (1,360 kg) of confetti, accompanied by more pyrotechnics.

The outdoor temperature Tuesday was in the low to mid 40s, practically balmy when compared to some other years.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said spectators should feel safe but encouraged them to remain vigilant and alert officers if they feel something is amiss.

Law enforcers were monitoring the situation with more than 1,000 security cameras, police helicopters and drones.

Several of the NYPD's drones are equipped with thermal-imaging and 3D-mapping capabilities and strong camera lenses that can greatly magnify a subject.

Streets in and around Times Square were closed to car traffic hours before the ball drop and police cars and sand-filled sanitation trucks were positioned to stop vehicles from driving into the crowd.

Revelers showing up for the confetti-filled festivities were wanded with metal detectors before being ushered to one of 65 viewing pens set up around Times Square.

Christina Genovese and Jessica Vanich, friends from Buffalo, New York, said the security line was about 30 minutes long when they arrived at 10:30 a.m.

"It's not as cold as Buffalo so we're OK," Genovese said.