NYC New Year's celebration heads into the evening

15,000 New Yorkers see in 2022 at Bill de Blasio’s scaled-back and (mostly) masked Times Square NYE party: US begins celebrations despite Omicron ‘blizzard’ which saw 587,143 cases over 24 hours

  • New Yorkers have welcomed the new year in Times Square, dancing to the strains of Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ as Mayor Bill de Blasio bowed out and his successor, Eric Adams, was sworn in
  • Adams held aloft a framed photograph of his mother, and his son Jordan and partner Tracey stood beside him as he took his oath 
  • An estimated 15,000 spectators gathered in Times Square in preparation for New York’s New Years Eve celebration, despite the surge in COVID cases 
  • The gathering comes amid a recorded 75,655 cases recorded in NYC on Friday after beating yesterday’s record of 67,000  
  • De Blasio announced safety guidelines for spectators, including no entry before 3pm and proof of vaccination and face masks – despite the event being held outdoors
  • Photos showed many revelers ignoring de Blasio’s mask mandate and celebrating regardless in the mild evening 
  • Performers such as Mariah Carey kicked off the iconic ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022′ 
  • Other US cities such as Nashville, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Las Vegas have also joined in on the celebrations despite around 674,000 cases recorded as of Thursday 
  • Some cities have cancelled their annual events: in Seattle the usual fireworks show atop the Space Needle took place online using special effects that can only be seen by people who tune in virtually
  • Tonight’s ball drop was the final big event of de Blasio’s second term in office, with Adams taking over at midnight after the ball drop

New Yorkers have welcomed 2022, watching the famous ball drop as the outgoing mayor Bill de Blasio danced with his wife in his final act as leader of the city.

To the strains of Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’, the crowd danced and cheered in Times Square, as the fireworks exploded and the confetti fell. 

De Blasio’s term ended at the stroke of midnight, and his successor Eric Adams was sworn in, holding aloft a framed photo of his mother.

His son Jordan held a family bible, and his partner Tracey was on the other side of him. 

The unpopular outgoing mayor was seen waltzing with his wife Chirlane McCray wearing a face mask, in accordance with his own rule, but many in the crowd ignored his mask mandate. 

The crowds gathered to watch the famous ball drop, and move forward into 2022 – despite the surge in Omicron cases, and concern from health experts. 

De Blasio scaled down the event, with only a quarter of the usual attendees – but insisted it must go ahead, saying it will ‘show the world that New York City is fighting our way through this.’

New York on New Year’s Eve saw a record of 76,555 COVID cases.

Despite this, thousands of partygoers huddled in the square wearing typical celebration garb including funky hats, bead necklaces, and 2022 glasses.

The city has limited the number of people it lets into Times Square to witness the six-ton ball, encrusted with nearly 2,700 Waterford crystals, descend above the crowd. 

Lines of traffic clogged the city’s streets throughout the day in preparation for the mega-holiday event. 

Public officials cautioned on Friday against uncontrolled celebrations due to the surging case numbers. 

The popular ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022′ kicked off at 8pm ET on ABC, featuring performances from artists including Mariah Carey.    

Officials said those attending the spectacle would have to wear masks and show proof of vaccination over caution of the widespread infections.

Revelers are seen in New York City’s Times Square, ignoring the mask mandate promised by Bill de Blasio

De Blasio, who brought in a mask mandate for the Times Square celebrations, even kissed his wife with his mask on at midnight – while others were noticeably more lax with their mask observance

Confetti falls at midnight in New York City’s Times Square

Ashanti, Ja Rule and Ryan Seacrest are seen on stage in Times Square as New York City welcomed the new year

Rap artist and actor LL Cool J was supposed to be among the performers taking the stage in Times Square, but pulled out of the event because he had tested positive for COVID. 

Performers taking the stage included headliner KT Tunstall, a duet between Ja Rule and Ashanti, a collection of songs by Journey as well as performances by artists such as Chloe and KAROL G.   

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have soared to their highest levels on record at over 265,000 per day on average. 

Bill de Blasio, the outgoing mayor, is seen dancing with his wife Chirlane McCray as midnight chimed and the Times Square ball dropped

The mayor – in his final act before stepping down – and his wife are seen launching the ball drop

Celebrations at midnight in Times Square, as the new year begun

New York City itself reported a record number of new, confirmed cases — nearly 44,000 — on Wednesday and a similar number Thursday, according to New York state figures.

Other major US cities including Boston, Las Vegas, Nashville and Philadelphia were also seen ringing in the new year with large crowds seen celebrating.

This comes after the nation smashed a global infection record on Thursday as 647,067 new cases were reported.

Revelers watch the three-hour mark fireworks in Times Square as they await for the ball to drop at midnight

Crowds continue to gather in participation of the New Year’s Eve ball drop

Revelers donned in New Year’s Eve celebratory garb wave in excitement

The New Year’s Eve celebration kicks off in NYC’s Time Square in anticipation of the iconic ball drop at midnight to ring in 2022

The New York celebration continues despite the surge in state COVID cases which saw a recent record of 76,555 on Friday

Mariah Carey performs at Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022

‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ hosts Ryan Seacrest and Liza Koshy kick off the celebrations in Times Square 

Thousands of spectators pack in for the New Years Eve celebration in Times Square despite the surge in COVID cases and the presence of the new Omicron variant 

Despite the surge of attendees, COVID protocols were put in place with masks and full vaccination status required for entry 

Spectators wear traditional New Year’s Eve garb including 2022 themed glasses, hats and scarves

The crowd will however remain reduced due to the effects of the Omicron surge hitting NYC and the rest of the US

As part of the attendance requirement, spectators must remain masked and have proof of vaccination

Masked NYPD officers pose in 2022 glasses at the Times Square subway station 

Couple Alexandra and Jose Vargas share a New Year’s Eve kiss in Times Square 

The New Year’s celebration comes after last year’s celebration had been closed to the public because of the pandemic.   

‘We are very excited to welcome back visitors to Times Square this New Year’s Eve,’ said Tom Harris, the president of the Times Square Alliance. 

‘Our goal is to have a safe and responsible event for the world to see.’   

Officials with the NYPD are continuing to enforce public health safety for the event due to the rising number of cases in the city.  

Authorities will check to ensure attendees are adhering to COVID guidelines by wearing masks as well as checking their vaccination status upon arrival.  

These new security measures have been formed to protect the health of those in attendance as compared to past New Year’s events.

However, officers will continue to track and monitor potential terrorist as well as other security threats if necessary. 

But 2022 begins just as the year prior began — with the pandemic clouding an already uncertain future.

Doubts swirled about whether the city would have to cancel this year’s bash, as the city posted record numbers of COVID cases in the days leading to it, even as some cities like Atlanta had decided to cancel their own celebrations.   

The 2022 sign that will be lit on top of a building on New Year’s Eve is displayed in Times Square preparation for the event

Masked NYC partygoers bear 2022 glasses and fun ‘Happy New Year’ headbands

Revelers brace the NYC winter cold in anticipation of the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square 

Spectators will continue to swarm in to watch the 6-ton ball, encrusted with nearly 2,700 Waterford crystals descend above them 

Internet sensation Liza Koshy is co-hosting ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ with Ryan Seacrest

Pop singer Ashanti is seen rehearsing for the NYC New Year’s Eve celebration

Rapper Ja Rule rehearses before the start of the New Year’s Eve celebration on Times Square 

The Sino-American Friendship Association presents a Chinese cultural performance from Henan, China for the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration

New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea joins in on the festivities 

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of new cases in America are of the Omicron variant, which was first discovered last month by South African health officials.

The U.S. is now averaging 300,387 new Covid cases per day, a pandemic record and the first time the 300,000 mark has been reached in America.  

New York state recorded 76,500 COVID cases on Friday, up from yesterday’s record of 67,000, governor Kathy Hochul announced. 

Currently there are 3,925 New Yorkers in hospital and 80 people died yesterday from Covid, the governor said.

However, the surge in cases has not stopped the celebration from continuing with the hopes of a mild year with COVID in store. 

‘I don’t believe in shutdowns,’ de Blasio told the Today show on Thursday. 

‘We have to fight our way through this.’ 

De Blasio’s statement is in sharp contrast to his actions taken during the pandemic, when New York City shut down for months in 2020. 

Lines of traffic jampacked the city streets throughout the day in preparation for the mega-holiday event

The New Year’s Eve Ball is illuminated and elevated near a ‘2022 is here’ sign for a final test ahead of New Year’s Eve on Friday

Teddy, a 12-year-old miniature poodle wearing 2022 glasses, sits on West 47th Street ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations at Times Square on Friday afternoon

Revelers take photos with Times Square staple The Naked Cowboy as they prepare for tonight’s ball drop to ring in 2022

The crowd starts getting pumped up, including a man who pulls down his mask to cheer ahead of tonight’s New Year Eve celebrations in Times Square

Revelers wait in social distancing pens in Times Square ahead of celebrating New Year’s Eve on Friday as crowds begin to form

A couple wearing face masks and funky hats look on ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations at Times Square on Friday

New York City’s new mayor, Eric Adams, expressed hope on Thursday that 2022 would be ‘a new beginning of our resiliency.’ 

College students and sisters Mary and Vanessa Anyakwo were guardedly optimistic, too, as they took in Times Square on an outing from their home in suburban Elmsford, New York.

‘I feel a lot more hopeful than I was last year because I think we have a lot more facilities’ to handle the pandemic, said Mary, 20.

Vanessa, 22, pointed to the crowds. ‘By this time last year,’ she said, ‘I didn’t think it would be like this.’

People gather at the security entrance in Times Square ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Revelers are required to show proof of vaccination and be masked 

A woman shows proof of vaccination against COVID to enter Times Square for the ball drop

An NYPD officer performs a security check on a person at Times Square before tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations  

NYPD officers perform security checks in Times Square where 15,000 revelers will ring in the New Year by watching the ball drop

People wear their 2022 glasses as they prepare to ring in the new year at the world-famous Times Square ball drop

Spectators flash the peace sign while wearing their face masks, 2022 glasses and festive hats as they prepare to ring in the new year 

An NYPD officer stands next to a signage encouraging people to wear masks ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations at Times Square as COVID-19 infections rise nationwide 

An empty Times Square was seen on the morning of New Year’s Eve

Final preparations and set up for tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square amid a huge Omicron surge that has overtaken New York City

People being gathering at West 47th Street ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square, a huge tourist attraction that brings thousands of people to NYC every year 

NYPD officers stand guard at Times Square ahead of tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations expected to bring out 15.000 revelers 

Paulo Brügger, a banker from Zurich, Switzerland, reflected on a world fed-up with having to endure wave after wave of the virus a year after 2021 dawned with hopes bottled up in vaccine vials.

His optimism was tempered by the world’s new reality that the pandemic would linger into the new year.

‘A lot of people are asking themselves now, ‘Is this going to be like this every year — when we get into the cold season, we have a new variant, and we are back to square one?” said Brügger, 55. 

Still, he was ‘extremely optimistic’ about 2022, partly because of vaccines and new therapies against COVID-19 and partly, he said with a chuckle, ‘because it can’t be worse than the last two years.’ 

Despite reservations about COVID, some attendees were simply thrilled to see the New Year’s Eve ball drop live in Times Square.

‘Since you are a kid, you can see this kind of shows on the TV, so you’re really excited because you’re like, OK, I want to be there some day, and now we’re living the experience,’ Colombia native Maria Fernanda told CBS. 

Other US cities have continued celebrations as well despite the recent surge in cases. 

CHICAGO 

Fireworks exploded along the Chicago River during New Year’s Eve celebrations, moments after midnight on Saturday, January 1.

Chicago was lit up with a spectacular fire work display along the city’s river

Revelers line Wacker Dr. near the Chicago River in downtown Chicago to watch the New Year fireworks display

Spectators watch as fireworks explode along the Chicago River during New Year’s Eve celebrations

Fireworks explode along the Chicago River during New Year’s Eve celebrations, moments after midnight Saturday

PHILADELPHIA

For the first time in two years, the city of Philadelphia rang in the new year with its spectacular fireworks shows. 

Held on the Delaware River waterfront, the celebrations saw two firework spectaculars – one at 6pm, and one at midnight.

There will be more fireworks at 6pm on New Year’s Day. 

Fireworks are seen above Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve, by the Delaware River

It is the first time that fireworks have been seen for Philadelphia’s New Year’s Eve in two years

MIAMI

In Miami, crowds gathered at Bayfront Park for the traditional firework display, while Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson hosted an ‘All-Star’ New Year’s Eve Special in Miami for NBC, which aired live.

One COVID casualty was The Big Orange, by Mr Neon.

The sculptural 30-foot wide display, 35 foot tall and weighing 2,000 pounds, needs ten transformers to help power the LED lights. 

It did not rise this year after the crew in charge of installing it came down with COVID-19. 

Instead, the orange rose in the form of a laser light show. 

Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson are seen on stage in Miami for NBC’s gala celebration

The NBC set boasted of their two star hosts

Miley Cyrus is seen on stage in Miami with 24k Golden

The singer, in a red jacket and silver chainmail skirt, dances on stage during the Florida party

NASHVILLE 

Music City ushered in the new year with a typically rocking celebration, held at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

The show featured performances by Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, Sam Hunt, the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Crowds were out in Nashville for their New Year’s Eve ‘Big Bash’

Jon Pardi performs during the New Year’s Eve Live Nashville’s Big Bash

COACHELLA

The town of Coachella, in the Californian desert, hosted a concert to mark New Year’s Eve.

Music lovers flocked to the city, and its famed concert site, for DayOne22: a New Year’s Eve Celebration.

Concert promoters AEG, who put on the annual festival at Coachella, sued event producers Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, arguing that their sale of tickets infringed AEG’s right to put on their own event.

AEG didn’t sue Twenty-Nine Palms directly because the tribe has sovereign immunity from such lawsuits. But in its lawsuit against the ticketing vendor of the NYE event, the plaintiffs alleged that the tribe is ‘intentionally trading on the goodwill’ of the Coachella music festival, causing a likelihood of ‘consumer confusion and false association’ with the spring event. 

But a judge ruled against them, and the event continued.

The show was headlined by Lil Wayne, along with rapper Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal) and E-40.

E40 is seen on stage at the Coachella party for New Year’s Eve

Music lovers are seen at Coachella for their New Year’s Eve concert

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