Mercury rises as Times Square ball drops
If there’s one thing that New Yorkers are known for, it’s a good party.That’s expected to be the case again come New Year’s Eve, when controlled chaos will reign in Times Square, where an estimated 1 million people are expected to descend before the ball drops at midnight to ring in 2011. And with temperatures on Friday predicted to reach a balmy 40 degrees, a larger than average turnout is likely. “Any time the weather isn’t bone-chilling, you can expect more people willing to show up,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, which coordinates the annual celebration. But with all the revelry and celebrity mayhem, security will remain tight. That means no backpacks and open bottles of alcohol, the NYPD warns. Meanwhile, police are beefing up patrols, adding nearly 1,200 new cadets to oversee the barricades and crowds. About 82 police surveillance cameras are also monitoring the neighborhood. “We’re doing everything that we reasonably can do to keep the city safe and so far, so good,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said last week. Around 4 p.m., police will start blocking off traffic from 42nd to 47th streets between Broadway and 7th Avenue. An opening ceremony kicks off at 6 p.m. with the raising of the New Year’s Eve Ball and a performance by Rick Springfield. As the night goes on, other entertainment will include the cast of Broadway’s “American Idiot,” singers Taio Cruz and Ke$ha and boy band veterans New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys. And certainly no New Year’s Eve would be complete without a guest appearance by Dick Clark. Finally, at 11:59 p.m., Mayor Michael Bloomberg will push the button that will trigger the descent of the countdown ball — adorned with 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles. The big concern now has been cleaning up the sidewalks and streets of icy slosh by the time the festivities are to begin, Tompkins said. “The show must go on and the snow must be gone,” he said.