Crystal ball drops in New York, ushering in 2015

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Revelers Pack Times Square for Ball Drop

NEW YORK (AP) -- A million people crammed into New York's Times Square ushered in 2015 with cheers, hugs and kisses after the glittering New Year's Eve ball descended from high above and a ton of confetti wafted down onto revelers below.

"This is a world renowned thing," said Christopher Crawford, 36, with his wife Chelsea who traveled from Paisley, Scotland. As the clock struck midnight, they kissed.

"Best day of my life apart from the day we got married," Christopher Crawford said.

"There are no words for it," said Chelsea Crawford. "It's fantastic."

Mayor Bill de Blasio, flanked by his wife and two children, pushed the ceremonial button that set the 11,875-pound Waterford crystal ball in motion. Merrymakers from around the world in pink foam hats waving pink balloons exchanged good wishes and danced as Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" blared on loudspeakers.

Sonia Dost, 28, and her boyfriend Shakir Bayanzai, 29, traveled from San Francisco, California, to see the ball drop.

"It was on my bucket list," Dost said. "I love it. There are so many people."

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Crystal ball drops in New York, ushering in 2015
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 1: People cheer as the ball drops at midnight in Times Square on January 1, 2015 in New York City. An estimated one million people from around the world are expected to pack Times Square to ring in 2015. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 1: Rhea Coulson, 20, and Angel Garcia (L) from Florida kiss at midnight as they celebrate the new year in Times Square on January 1, 2015 in New York City. An estimated one million people from around the world are expected to pack Times Square to ring in 2015. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: A general view of atmosphere at New Year's Eve 2015 at Times Square on December 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: (L-R) Dante de Blasio, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chirlane McCray and Chiara de Blasio attend New Year's Eve 2015 at Times Square on December 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
Revelers cheer in Times Square during the New Year's Eve celebration, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, in New York. Thousands braved the cold to watch the annual ball drop and ring in the new year. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 1: People cheer as the ball drops at midnight in Times Square on January 1, 2015 in New York City. An estimated one million people from around the world are expected to pack Times Square to ring in 2015. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 1: People cheer as the ball drops at midnight in Times Square on January 1, 2015 in New York City. An estimated one million people from around the world are expected to pack Times Square to ring in 2015. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images)
Fireworks erupt after midnight in Times Square during the New Year's Eve celebration, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, in New York. Thousands braved the cold to watch the annual ball drop and ring in the new year. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: (L-R) Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Taylor Swift, Ryan Seacrest, Nasri, Ben Spivak, Mark Pellizzer and Alex Tanas attend Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2015 on December 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/DCNYRE2015/Getty Images for dcp)
Revelers enjoy confetti in Times Square after midnight during New Year's Eve festivities in New York, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Shanna Clark, of Chicago, smiles as she huddles for warmth in Times Square during the New Year's Eve celebration, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, in New York. Thousands braved the cold to watch the annual ball drop and ring in the new year. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: Taylor Swift (L) and Ryan Seacrest attend Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2015 on December 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/DCNYRE2015/Getty Images for dcp)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: Florida Georgia Line performs on stage at Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2015 on December 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/DCNYRE2015/Getty Images for dcp)
Revelers huddle into their coats and scarves in Times Square during the New Year's Eve celebration, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, in New York. Thousands braved the cold to watch the annual ball drop and ring in the new year. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: General view of atmosphere at Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2015 on December 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/DCNYRE2015/Getty Images for dcp)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: Recording artist Nasri of Magic! performs at Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2015 In Times Square at Times Square on December 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, Chirlane McCray, Dante de Blasio and Chiara de Blasio celebrate New Year's in Times Square on Thursday Jan. 1, 2015 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
New York City police officers stand among the falling confetti just after midnight in Times Square during New Year's Eve festivities in New York, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31, 2014: The countdown begins in Times Square on December 31, 2014 in New York City. An estimated one million people from around the world are expected to pack Times Square to ring in 2015. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images)
Tim Smithe and his wife Kyla-McCarthy-Smithe of Chicago celebrate in Times Square just after midnight during New Year's Eve festivities in New York, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
New York City police officers walk past revelers as they wait in Times Square for the stroke of midnight during New Year's Eve festivities in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Taylor Swift performs in Times Square during New Year's Eve celebrations on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 1: People cheer as the ball drops at midnight in Times Square on January 1, 2015 in New York City. An estimated one million people from around the world are expected to pack Times Square to ring in 2015. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images)
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Ryan Seacrest hosted the countdown show from Times Square. Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line and Magic! were among the many musical guests.

Some partygoers arrived at the Crossroads of the World half a day early to guarantee a prime spot for the annual celebration.

MacKynze Slatinsky, 15, of Monroe, Michigan, said she arrived at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday with her sister and best friend to secure their real estate. They didn't mind the cold, or lack of access to the bathroom - and sustained themselves on candy.

"We're having fun," she said earlier in the day. "It's worth it."

With temperatures at about 30 degrees, partygoers were bundled up in parkas, fleece-lined hats and gloves. Security was tight and department officials said they had started planning for the event just hours after the clock struck midnight in 2014.

Thousands of officers were on scene, with rooftop patrols and police helicopters protecting the crowd, along with the bomb squad and a unit specializing in chemical and biological threats sweeping hotels, theaters, construction sites and parking garages. Plainclothes officers blended in while uniformed cops patrolled the streets.

Almost immediately, sanitation officials were beginning their massive cleanup effort, sending in 178 workers, 26 mechanical sweepers and 38 leaf blowers to remove noisemakers, confetti and paper streamers.

Last year workers removed 52.3 tons of debris.

The celebration came in a city facing more demonstrations against police brutality even as it mourns the deaths of two officers shot in their patrol car by a man who vowed online to kill "pigs." A march as close to Times Square as possible - it broke up around 34th Street - occurred Wednesday evening but did not interrupt the Times Square celebration. Police said they had prepared for protests and were on heightened alert.

But none of that seemed to weigh on revelers who donned goofy hats and noise makers, jumping up-and-down to stay warm.

Agustina Bernacchia, a tourist from Argentina, said she arrived early at Times Square to experience the New Year's Eve party she'd always seen on TV.

"It was a dream for us," she said.

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