New York City sanitation crews spent the first morning of 2021 on Friday cleaning up an estimated 30 tons of confetti and other debris off the streets of Times Square just hours after a dramatically scaled-back New Year’s celebration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sanitation Department deployed 67 workers who were helped by 14 sanitation officers to clean up the streets before dawn on Friday - less than half of the 177 workers and 33 officers that were needed after the massive celebration a year ago.
The city's Sanitation Department includes officers who perform limited law enforcement duties.
During pre-pandemic and routine celebrations last year, hundreds of thousands packed the area in and around Times Square for the annual ball drop, leaving behind 60 tons of confetti and debris.
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Times Square is a virtual ghost town early on Friday morning - just hours after a subdued, scaled down New Year's celebration
New York City Sanitation Department crews are seen above cleaning up the debris on Friday morning hours after the New Year's celebration
The department estimates that between 20 and 30 tons of confetti and debris were removed from the streets of Times Square early on Friday morning
The Sanitation Department deployed 67 workers who were helped by 14 sanitation officers to clean up the streets before dawn on Friday
The ball that dropped when the clock struck midnight on Friday, ushering in 2021, is seen above Times Square on Friday
But that was before the world was rocked by a global pandemic that virtually shut down nightlife and kept most people indoors.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Thursday night’s festivities were limited to just 39 families in attendance at Times Square.
The guests, who received special invites, were made up of health care workers and other heroes of 2020.
Millions watched from home as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio danced with his wife onstage.
Sanitation crews are seen above sweeping the streets of Times Square just after dawn on Friday morning
The smaller crews seen on Friday numbered less than half of the 177 workers and 33 officers that were needed after the massive celebration a year ago
Thursday night’s New Year's festivities were limited to just 39 families in attendance at Times Square
Confetti and other debris are seen above strewn across the pavement in New York's Times Square on Friday morning
A sanitation worker uses a leaf blower to clear out confetti scattered on the sidewalk of New York City's Times Square on Friday morning
A couple takes an early morning stroll through a desolate Times Square in New York City on Friday morning
De Blasio was seen pushing the button to start the crystal ball's descent as New York's first lady, Chirlane McCray, stood by his side.
The pair then danced into the new year onstage.
The mayor later tweeted that 'as a city, as a community, we have been through so much this year'.
'We showed our resolve and proved New York City will come back stronger than ever,' he wrote in the caption of an image showing him and his wife dancing.
This year, the time-honored tradition was modified amid the ongoing pandemic, with members of the public prohibited from gathering in the area for the first time since the ball-drop began back in 1907.
However, modest throngs of people gathered just outside the police perimeter, which took on the feel of a tailgate as midnight neared. Many said they wanted to end a challenging year on their own terms.
Three hours later, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the rest of the West Coast also marked the end to the year in muted fashion, with California currently in the grips of a huge spike in coronavirus cases.
On Los Angeles' Venice Beach, an unusually large crowd of people gathered to cheer the final sunset of the year over the pacific, and to say goodbye to 2020. The gleam of Las Vegas also brought large crowds, with thousands of people walking on the Strip by early evening despite a plea from the governor to avoid gatherings.
NEW YORK CITY: Times Square is usually at the center of the world's New Year's Eve celebrations, with tens of thousands of people packing in to the commercial hub every December 31st to watch the ball drop at midnight
This year, the time-honored tradition was modified amid the ongoing pandemic, with members of the public prohibited from gathering in the area for the first time since the ball-drop began back in 1907
The year of the COVID-19 pandemic has officially ended with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (pictured with his wife) dropping the ball in an eerily empty Times Square as millions of Americans watched the annual event from home
De Blasio is seen pushing the button to allow the crystal ball to descend just before 12am
De Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray were then seen dancing on stage after the mayor set the ball drop in motion
MIAMI: In Miami, Florida, several people were seen partying at the Blue Martini Club Thursday night. Pictured: Partiers including Youtube and IG model Yocancallmestacey celebrate first New Years since the Covid outbreak
LAS VEGAS: A couple kisses as they celebrate New Year's Eve along the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada
In New York City, small groups of revelers, some wearing glittery hats, filmed their distant view of Times Square on their phones and broke out in cheers at midnight.
There were kisses and toasts, but police quickly broke up the crowds gathered along Broadway after the ball fell.
One reveler, Daniel Camacho, 36, of Manhattan, described the experience as 'anticlimactic' given the small crowd.
'I'm just glad it's over,' he said of 2020.
Others who passed through the area in the hours before midnight said the celebration was a melancholy one.
'It makes me a little bit sad,' said Cole Zieser, who recently moved to New York City and was looking forward to 'what everyone dreams about in New York.'
Merchants in the area were also lamenting the lack of crowds.
'It's dead,' said Ali Jameel early Thursday, who owns a store a block from Times Square. 'We are dreaming for it to come back again like before.'
Earlier on Thursday, de Blasio told reporters 'It's going to be actually, arguably, the most special, the most poignant, the most moving New Year's Eve.'
A man chugged a bottle of alcohol when the clock struck 12am Friday morning in New York's Times Square
Attendees watch a performance near Times Square during 2021 New Year's Eve celebrations on Thursday in New York City
Revelers lit fireworks during a modified celebration of New Year's Day near Times Square on Thursday
A few dozen people did gather near Times Square Thursday night wearing colorful hats and 2021 glasses
Many appeared to be wearing masks as others took the opportunity to pose for photos
A man is seen wearing 2021 glasses ahead of the ball drop in New York City's Times Square
A man is seen wearing 2021 glasses while standing near the Times Square area on Thursday
People gather in Midtown Manhattan to pose for photos ahead of the New Year's Eve celebrations
Several people were seen wearing decorative 2021 hats near the Times Square area Thursday night
Children are seen with decorative Accessories as they pose for a photo near Times Square on Thursday
'In 2021, we're going to show people what it looks like to recover, to come back,' the mayor added.
Shortly after the ball dropped, TV host Andy Cohen slammed de Blasio for how he's handled issues in the city.
'I just don't need to see that at the beginning of 2021,' Cohen said, referring to de Blasio and his wife dancing. 'Do something with this city!' Cohen said as CNN's Anderson Cooper laughed.
'Honestly get it together,' Cohen yelled.
Others also took to social media to slam de Blasio for his leadership over the Big Apple.