Confetti and music but no mayor for NYC ball drop
RETRANSMISSION TO CORRECT DAY TO TUESDAY - Looking from the Marriott Marquis hotel, people crowd into Times Square for New Year's Eve celebrations in New York Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
NEW YORK (AP) — When revelers pack Times Square to ring in 2014, they will be greeted with some familiar practices: The annual ball drop, a hefty police presence and live musical performances. But for the first time in a decade, a New York City mayor won't attend the countdown at the crossroads of the world.
Outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who attended every other celebration during his tenure, hobnobbing with celebrities and receiving a peck on the cheek from Lady Gaga, said he's sitting out Tuesday's festivities to spend time with family and friends. And Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will be busy being sworn into office at a private ceremony at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday at his Brooklyn home. The full inauguration begins at noon at City Hall.
Looking from the Marriott Marquis hotel, fireworks erupt from One Times Square as the Waterford Crystal ball that will mark the new year is raised into position at six hours before midnight for New Year's Eve celebrations in New York Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Instead, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a New York City native, will lead the final 60-second countdown and push the ceremonial button to signal the descent of the Times Square New Year's Eve ball.
"She is an inspiration to everyone determined to achieve their dreams in 2014," said Jeffrey Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment, which runs the event.
About 1 million people from all over the world are expected to pack into the bow-tie-shaped stretch of streets in midtown Manhattan to see the crystal ball drop and count down to 2014, organizers said.