NEW YORK — When revelers pack Times Square to ring in 2014, they will be greeted with some familiar practices: The annual ball drop, a hefty police presence and live musical performances. But for the first time in a decade, a New York City mayor won't attend the countdown at the crossroads of the world.
Outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who attended every other celebration during his tenure, hobnobbing with celebrities and receiving a peck on the cheek from Lady Gaga, said he's sitting out Tuesday's festivities to spend time with family and friends. And Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will be busy being sworn into office at a private ceremony at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday at his Brooklyn home. The full inauguration begins at noon at City Hall.
Instead, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a New York City native, will lead the final 60-second countdown and push the ceremonial button to signal the descent of the Times Square New Year's Eve ball.
"She is an inspiration to everyone determined to achieve their dreams in 2014," said Jeffrey Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment, which runs the event.
About 1 million people from all over the world are expected to pack into the bow-tie-shaped stretch of streets in midtown Manhattan to see the crystal ball drop and count down to 2014, organizers said.
Ryan Seacrest will host the countdown show from Times Square, with Melissa Etheridge, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Miley Cyrus, Icona Pop and Blondie among the musical guests. Seacrest has hosted the past few years; longtime host Dick Clark died last year.
When the clock strikes 12 and the glittering ball drops, so will 1 ton of confetti — scraps of paper with well wishes for the upcoming year.
Temperatures were expected to be in the mid-20s, and revelers were encouraged to dress warmly and bring layers. Eager merrymakers often arrive hours early to get a good spot to view the show — but that means staying put behind metal police pens. There are no bathrooms and once people leave, they can't come back to their spot. Police check backpacks. No alcohol is allowed.