Despite the Covid hitting New York again, the ‘city that never sleeps’ celebrated the New Year on the iconic Times Square in the heart of Manhattan, with its famous descent of the ball, its countdown and its release of confetti.
Last year, after terrible months of the coronavirus epidemic, the colorful and musical event was held in an almost empty Times Square plaza. This year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio kept his promise to get back into the party and, at 11:59 p.m., started the countdown in front of a crowd limited to 15,000, instead of the usual 60,000, all masked and vaccinated.
At midnight sharp, the Times Square ball went out to make way for a brief fireworks display to the cheers and kisses of revelers. According to tradition, more than 1.3 tons of confetti carrying New Year’s greetings were then thrown from the roofs of buildings bordering Times Square.
Convinced of getting vaccinated
The Covid-19 has not discouraged American tourists, quite the contrary. Like a couple of African-Americans who came especially from Memphis (Tennessee): ‘To see the release of the ball is our dream and we were vaccinated for that’, admits Chroni Spokes.
‘At first glance, we did not want to be vaccinated but when we read the rules of the health authorities, we did it just to come here,’ admits the young woman.
Faced with the surge in Omicron variant contaminations in recent weeks and the fear of reliving the nightmare of 2020 when New York was the epicenter of the Covid-19 epidemic, the city and state of New York are betting everything on vaccination and testing.
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday reported that over the past 24 hours more than 76,500 people had tested positive for the coronavirus, for nearly 340,000 tests carried out, a new record for that state. 20 million inhabitants. Nearly 8,000 patients are hospitalized there.
Transfer of power
In addition to the context of the Covid-19, Times Square was also the scene, just after midnight, of the transfer of power between the outgoing mayor Bill de Blasio and his successor Eric Adams.
This former African-American policeman was elected on November 2 for his program to fight crime and socio-economic inequalities in this megalopolis, an incredible social and cultural mosaic. Holding up the portrait of his late mother, Mr. Adams took an oath on the Bible, alongside his family.