New York said goodbye to the year 2021 with a celebration in Times Square smaller than usual due to the astronomical rebound in covid-19 cases, although there was no shortage of confetti, lights, music, and good wishes, including those of the new mayor who he was inaugurated just after midnight.
Only 15,000 people – usually almost 60,000 – were able to access the iconic square to see up close the descent of the famous ball of colored crystals of more than 5,300 kilos that hangs over one of its skyscrapers, but they had to meet new requirements, of complete vaccination and mask, which were added to the safety protocols.
Those who attended the New Year’s Eve party in the Big Apple were the foresight who armed themselves with patience since the Police allowed entry to the completely fenced enclosure from 3 in the afternoon and did not allow large backpacks, folding chairs, umbrellas, or alcohol with which to toast or alleviate the low temperatures.
The reward has been to be part of the public on the 50th anniversary of “New Year Rockin ‘Eve”, the most-watched program on December 31st on US televisions, in which despite the list of stars has been more lackluster than at other times due to the lack of pop divas and last minute cancellations.
In the absence of stars like Jennifer Lopez, who performed last year in front of a small group of essential workers, tonight Colombian reggaeton Karol G, veteran rock band Journey and singer KT Tunstall have taken the stage while causing rapper LL Cool J, the most anticipated drops for being infected with covid-19.
New York, which in recent days has smashed records of covid-19 cases due to the omicron variant, has remained firm with its celebration in front of other large cities in the country such as Los Angeles, Atlanta, and San Francisco, whose authorities decided to cancel some of its most massive events.
This Friday, the state of New York reported more than 76,500 new cases detected in 24 hours, of which almost 44,000 corresponded to the great city, which has affected numerous public services, with suspensions of several subway lines and permits New Year’s Eve canceled in the police force due to lack of personnel.
“We want to show that we are moving forward, and show the world that New York City is struggling to get out of this,” outgoing mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday, given the growing fear of contagion at the New Year’s Eve party, ensuring that the combination of vaccines, masks, and distance would be effective.
However, the president of the Times Square Alliance, which brings together businesses in the area and organizes the event, Tom Harris, acknowledged to the local channel ABC7 that on a normal day there can be up to 270,000 people at the “crossroads of the world” without that it is known if they are vaccinated or not and without the obligation to wear a mask outdoors.
After hours of entertainment and cold, after midnight, the new councilor, Eric Adams -who carried a portrait of his late mother, for whom he feels veneration-, was sworn in before the crowd gathered in Times Square, a place that he considered symbolic for the city and epicenter of “excitement, renewal, and hope for the future” while acknowledging that it faces a “difficult period”.