New York’s Times Square erupted with fireworks and cheers at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday as thousands of hardy merrymakers braved pouring rain and watched the glowing New Year’s Eve ball complete its midnight descent to mark the start of 2019.
For the multitudes who gathered in the famed midtown Manhattan crossroads, the thrilling moment was reward for enduring hours of standing in a steady downpour during the waning hours of 2018.
Visitors had begun gathering inside penned-off enclosures in the morning, starting an hours-long marathon of standing in one place, with no access to public restrooms.
Belying the idea that New Yorkers themselves eschew the Times Square festivities, Eskie Garcia, a 59-year-old city worker living in Brooklyn, said she has come every year for about a decade.
“You have to come here in person,” she said before applying lipstick and asking a stranger to take her picture on her cellphone. “Especially when you live by yourself. You come, you meet people.”
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Additional reporting by Gabriella Borter; Writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Kim Coghill)