Countdown to 2023: Final New Year’s Eve preparations underway in Times Square
NEW YORK — Times Square will be at full capacity this New Year’s Eve, for the first time since the pandemic.
As a huge crowd gathers to ring in 2023, more than 100 million Americans will have their eyes on the iconic ball drop.
Organizers did some practice runs Friday to make sure everything goes smoothly.
The ball has gotten stuck before — in the 1950s, it got jammed because they used ropes. But that’s not the case anymore.
The ball is 12 feet in diameter, weighs 6 tons, has more than 2,000 crystals and 32,000 LED lights, which create a wonderful jewel in the sky.
At 6 p.m. Saturday, they will flip the switch to lift the ball. At 60 seconds to midnight, the countdown begins.
“The secret is, yes it takes two minutes to go up and see the whole thing. But when the ball comes down, it only travels halfway, because as it reaches those numerals, it turns off and the numerals light up. And then it just sits right there below the numerals until the next morning,” said Jeff Straus, co-organizer of Times Square New Year’s Eve. “Even the ball needs to take a break.”
Times Square was already packed with people on the eve of New Year’s Eve.
“I just want to feel the vibe out before the ball drop and everything, see how everyone’s enjoying it,” Khaleel Aiyash said.
Watch John Dias’ report
Emily Callan, a teacher from Chicago, will be ringing in the New Year with her son Robert.
“We’ll probably be up at the crack of dawn, right?” she said.
“The crack of dawn?” CBS2’s Jennifer Bisram asked.
“Oh yeah,” Callan said.
“When are you going to use the bathroom? How?” Bisram asked.
“I don’t know, I guess we’ll have to wear diapers,” Callan said, laughing.
Libby Jackson and her son Devin traveled from Florida.
“We’ve heard it’s going to be a brutal wait, but we’re here for the wait,” she said.
The barricades were out Friday, and preparations are underway.
With 1 million people expected to descend on the Crossroads of the World, members of the NYPD will be hard at work making sure everyone is safe. Roads in the area will.
Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell held a news conference Friday afternoon, assuring New Yorkers the big party in Times Square will be safe.
“You will see thousands of uniformed police officers out there on post in addition to the many officers assigned to their regular duties of patrolling all of our neighborhoods throughout the streets, subways and housing developments, and as we ensure the safety of everyone moving around the city and enjoying these festivities,” Sewell said.
On Thursday, organizers threw multi-colored confetti in the air inon New Year’s Eve when 3,000 pounds of it will rain down.
This year, there are no COVID protocols, so it will be one big party.
There are some things spectators should know, however: there will be no restrooms, and bags, lawn chairs and umbrellas, despite the calls for rain, are not allowed.