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No crowds, but music and ball drop featured in virtual New Year's Eve festivities 

The Times Square crystal ball is illuminated and

The Times Square crystal ball is illuminated and elevated for a final test on Wednesday, ahead of the crowdless New Year's Eve celebrations. Credit: AFP via Getty Images/Angela Weiss

Finally something to celebrate: the end to 2020.

While revelers will not be allowed to pack Times Square Thursday night to ring in 2021 because of the ongoing pandemic, millions are expected to tune in on TV and online to bid good riddance to a year dominated by a virus that has killed more than 330,000 Americans.

The crowdless festivities will still include music from international entertainers, the world-famous countdown and ball drop at midnight and more than one ton of confetti raining down on the Crossroads of the World.

Even if the usual throngs of cheering, kissing revelers won't be there to enjoy it.

"It's almost like a 'Seinfeld' episode," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said, invoking the 1990s "show about nothing."

"This is a ball drop about nothing, where you can't see, so you may as well stay home," he said in a news briefing Wednesday to announce the "frozen zone" around Times Square.

Despite the restricted public access, New Year's Eve will still include the lights, sound and imagery of past celebrations.

R&B singer Andra Day, disco queen Gloria Gaynor, Jennifer Lopez, Billy Porter, Cyndi Lauper, Jimmie Allen, Machine Gun Kelly, Anitta, Pitbull and the USO Show Troupe are among those scheduled to perform on TV or in performances streaming online beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The event will also recognize the "Heroes of 2020," including New York first responders, front-line and essential workers who sacrificed for their community during the pandemic.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball was lit and raised up the 130-foot pole atop One Times Square.

The ball, which is illuminated by 32,256 energy efficient LEDs and enhanced by 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles, can display more than 16 million colors and billions of patterns, creating a kaleidoscope effect, officials said.

And when the confetti falls at midnight, it will include thousands of wishes from people around the world.

A Wishing Wall set up in Times Square — and another online — invited people to submit their goals and dreams for the new year. Those wishes were printed onto the actual confetti that will be dropped at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

With The Associated Press

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