Terror fears fail to quell N.Y. spirit

By Dunstan Prial

Associated Press

NEW YORK – A crystal ball honoring victims of the World Trade Center attack dropped in Times Square at midnight Monday, signaling the arrival of 2002 and giving patriotic revelers a chance to bid farewell to a year of horrors and heroes.

Red, white and blue confetti fell as an estimated crowd of 500,000 turned out for the biggest New York City party since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Neither heavy security nor harsh weather kept the crowds from turning out.

With a thumbs-up, Mayor Rudy Guilliani performed the last duty of his office by pushing the button that sent the Waterford crystal ball plunging in Times Square at midnight.

He swore in his successor, Michael Bloomberg, in an unusual public ceremony shortly after midnight.

The mayor earlier announced his plans for Giuliani Partners, a consulting firm that will have a strategic partnership with accounting firm Ernst &Young and include several of his top City Hall aides. He said he planned to complete the paperwork after swearing in Bloomberg.

Bloomberg said the ceremony at Times Square would send a message that the city has rebounded from Sept. 11.

Under tight security, New Year’s Eve revelers had lined up at security checkpoints to stake out spots for the annual dropping of the ball at the stroke of midnight.

Among them was Javier Romero, 21, who said participating in the celebration was part of getting back to normal after the terrorist attacks. “It’s kind of my part of saying I’m not afraid,” he said.

The crowd fell silent when the night’s official festivities began at 6 p.m. as 7-year-old Logan Miller, who lost his uncle in the attacks, rang a bell onstage at Times Square in a ceremony to honor the Sept. 11 victims. Bells were simultaneously rung at churches and synagogues citywide as the ball was hoisted into position.

A giant screen over Times Square displayed an image of a fluttering U.S. flag and listed every police precinct, firehouse, port authority unit, airline and nation that lost people in the attacks.

“I’ve been here nine years and the silence of a large crowd, the moment when Times Square was completely silent, was remarkable,” said event producer Peter Kohlmann. “I don’t think it’s ever been as silent as that.”

Some 500,000 people – about the same as last year – rang in the new year, as partygoers have done in Times Square since 1904.

“We thought we’d show our appreciation and American spirit to New York,” said Malinda Genieczko of Manalapan, N.J., who came to Times Square with her husband, Ken.

A few miles to the south, dozens of rescue workers continued digging Monday night through the World Trade Center ruins.

“I’m just looking forward to a new year,” said firefighter Larry Muccini, one of dozens of firefighters and police officers taking part in the round-the-clock effort.

At Times Square, some 7,000 police officers were on duty – twice the number for an ordinary New Year’s celebration – and some carried radiation detectors. There were also hand-held metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs at the checkpoints.

Plans called for police sharpshooters on rooftops, and all aircraft except police helicopters were banned over Times Square.

“When I was here in 2000, they came and checked everybody’s bag,” said Ernesto Becerrio, 27, of Boston. “I don’t mind if they do, because it’s for our safety.”

In addition to the bell-ringing ceremony, organizers made several changes to the celebration to honor the victims of the attacks. Thousands of red, white and blue balloons and pompoms were handed out.

The ball itself honored the victims. The 504 triangular panels that cover the 1,070-pound ball were engraved with the names of each police precinct, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unit, firehouse, airline and nation that suffered losses Sept. 11.

Cesar Alvarez, 25, was in Times Square trying to keep warm in a folding chair wrapped in a 6-by-10-foot American flag.

“You can’t be afraid,” he said. “You’ve got to keep on going on with your life. Have fun.”

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Marysville
1 pedestrian dead after car crash on I-5 south of Marysville

Around 5 p.m., a car crashed into a pedestrian on I-5. Investigators were working to determine exactly what happened.

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pfizer backs out of Everett manufacturing plant after $43B Seagen deal

Pfizer finalized the acquisition of the Bothell-based cancer drug developer in December.

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

Madi Humphries, 9, Rose Austin, 13, and Eirene Ritting, 8, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No grades, no teachers: Inside a Bothell school run by student vote

Each day at The Clearwater School, 60 students choose their own lessons. It’s one vote per person, whether you’re staff or student.

SonShine Preschool inside First Baptist Church Monroe is pictured Friday, March 1, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
SonShine preschool in Monroe to close at the end of the year

The preschool, operated by First Baptist Church, served kids for 25 years. School leadership did not explain the reason behind the closure.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside WSP District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed in a collision on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
State trooper killed, 1 arrested in crash on I-5 near Marysville

Authorities said Trooper Chris Gadd had been stopped along the freeway around 3 a.m. near 136th Street NE. A Lynnwood driver, 32, was arrested.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night on December 11, 2017. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Following lawsuit, Providence commits to improved care for Deaf patients

Three patients from Snohomish County sued Providence in 2022 for alleged Americans with Disabilities Act violations.

Cars drive through snow along I-5 in Snohomish County, Washington on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
In March, 7 p.m. sunsets are back for Western Washington

Washingtonians will finally start seeing more sun starting March 10. But a little more winter could be on the way first.

One of the parking lots at Stevens Pass Thursday afternoon on December 30, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Stevens Pass to charge $20 for parking reservations on busy days

Two-thirds of spaces will remain free for early arrivers on weekends. Cars with four or more occupants can also park free.

Lynnwood
Days after shootout with Lynnwood police, suspect checks into hospital

Police learned the 18-year-old was in a hospital in Portland, Oregon. His alleged role in the shooting remained unclear.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.