Westchester revelers ring in 2013 in White Plains
New Year's Eve revelers made their way to downtown White Plains on Monday night for a celebration to rival Times Square's -- minus the massive crowds.
"White Plains is where it's poppin' at," said Prince Brooks, sporting a festive red ski cap and a pair of plastic glasses he picked up at a dollar store. "To be honest, it's a mini-Manhattan."
Officials had predicted a turnout of some 20,000 people for White Plains' Main Street for the Hudson Valley's biggest New Year's Eve bash, which featured music by the Showtime Dance Band.
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And of course the biggest moment of the night there came as the clock ticked down to the final moments of 2012. A ball with 10,000 light-emitting diodes joined the countdown and dropped without a hitch from a 150-foot crane at midnight to welcome 2013 as the crowd roared.
A fireworks display shortly afterward capped the festivities.
Ryan McBride, the general manager of The Wicked Wolf and Black Bear Saloon, said he sold out both venues two weeks ago. For $50, patrons got a buffet, 2103 party glasses and a champagne toast at midnight.
"We let it rip until the wee hours," McBride said.
A crowd McBride dubbed "fashionably late" was starting to wander in around 9 p.m.
Among revelers, new year's resolutions ranged from the mundane -- getting a driver's license -- to making more money.
Brooks, a student at Westchester Community College, was looking to set up some business opportunities for himself so the new year would be more lucrative.
"I'm trying to get rich," said Brooks, 29, who is studying fashion and merchandising. "Without doing nothing negative to get there. Using my God-given talents. Hopefully. You never know where it might take me."
Edwin and Amy Oquendo of White Plains -- parents of a 4-year-old girl -- had the 20 children who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on their minds.
"R.I.P. Sandy Hook Children," their New Year's Eve hats read.
"Let them rest in peace," said Edwin Oquendo, 50. "I want to celebrate and give the parents' encouragement. Because it really hurt me. I have little ones, too."
His wife was hopeful that, in the new year, security will be hardened at the nation's schools.
"I hope they can find a way that's better so that this will never happen again," Amy Oquendo said. "When this happened, all I could think about was my 4-year-old. I miss those children. It breaks my heart that they're gone."
White Plains may have locked down the title as the region's biggest celebration, but New Rochelle distinguished itself as different, getting a jump on New Year's Eve with some early festivities and a Times Square-style countdown -- without the bubbly -- at noon in New Roc City.
Clowns mingled with children in face paint at the Ring in the New Year at Noon event sponsored by New Roc City, in association with the New Rochelle Business Improvement District and the BID Family Day event series.
Christopher Williams, 44, of Mount Vernon, came with her son, Odin, 4, and daughter Zoe, 8.
They planned to stay home and watch the ball drop on TV.
"And just happy to be all together as a family," Williams said.
Janiya Fernandez, 28, of New Rochelle, brought her daughter, 3-year-old Lira Moncrieft.
Fernandez said she would go to church for services ending at midnight.
"Trust me: Lira will stay up that late," she said. "She has so much energy!"
Blulou Boyle, 35, of New Rochelle, said her new year's resolution is to find a good school district for her 4-year-old daughter, Kat.
Dressed in a red bow tie, red cummerbund, top hat and sneakers, Micheal Getlane, "director of enthusiasm" at New Roc's Fun Fuzion indoor amusement park, greeted guests. Radio personality Jimmy Fink, of 107.1 The Peak, played music and served as master of ceremonies for the countdown and balloon drop at noon from the third floor of the atrium.
Heineken USA is sponsoring free rides from White Plains to any Westchester County residence for anyone age 21 or older.
Those with a historic bent can sample pre-Prohibition-style drinks, food and music at a celebration in Kingston's historic uptown Stockade District.
Boitson's, Duo Bistro, Stockade Tavern and BSP Lounge are hosting era-specific festivities. Discounts will go to patrons wearing period outfits. At midnight, revelers can see a first-ever ball drop at North Front and Wall streets.
In Rockland County, T.J. McGowan Sons Funeral Home is offering complimentary rides home for revelers taking part in festivities in Haverstraw and Stony Point. The company says it will use its vans and cars, not its hearses, to pick people up and drop them off anywhere in North Rockland.
State Police warned that they will be looking for drunken drivers and urged motorists to use the free rides.
With News12, Ken Schachter and Elizabeth Daza