Crowds down at frigid Times Square

NEW YORK — New Yorkers, celebrity entertainers and tourists from around the world gathered in a frigid Times Square Sunday night to mark the start of 2018 with a glittering crystal ball drop, a burst of confetti and midnight fireworks.

It was only 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the city at 10 p.m., making it one of the coldest New Year celebrations on record — and one of the least crowded. Some of the metal pens, usually packed with people, were only half-full. Some revelers, bundled up in hats, gloves, face masks and numerous layers of clothing, jogged to keep warm, others bounced and danced. Some stood and shivered.

Remle Scott and her boyfriend, Brad Whittaker, of San Diego, arrived shortly after 9 a.m., saying they were trying to keep a positive attitude as temperatures hovered in the teens. Each was wearing several layers of clothing.

“Our toes are frozen, so we’re just dealing with it by dancing,” Scott said.

Some wore red scarfs that read “Happy New Year” and others donned yellow and purple hats as a pizza deliveryman sold pies to the hungry crowd.

In a prime viewing spot near 42nd Street, Alexander Ebrahim grinned as he looked around at the flashing lights of Times Square.

“I always saw it on TV, so I thought why not come out and see it in person,” the Orange County, California, resident said. “It’s an experience you can never forget.”

Michael Waller made a snap decision on Saturday evening to drive straight from Columbus, Ohio. He made it to Times Square at 8 a.m. and waited all day in front of the ball.

“I didn’t want to stay home for this, by myself,” he said.

Mariah Carey performed again on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” hosted by Ryan Seacrest, after a bungled performance last year in which she stumbled through her short set, failing to sing for most of it despite a pre-recorded track of her songs playing in the background.

The dazzling finale of the show was the traditional drop of a Waterford Crystal ball down a pole atop 1 Times Square.

This year, the ball is 12 feet in diameter, weighs 11,875 pounds and is covered with 2,688 triangles that change colors like a kaleidoscope, illuminated by 32,256 LED lights. When the first ball drop happened in 1907, it was made of iron and wood and adorned with 100 25-watt light bulbs. The first celebration in the area was in 1904, the year the city’s first subway line started running.