Melania Trump Club

Friday, December 31, 2010

They're mediocre to the core

DALLAS — The first college football game of 2011 is a bowl that's never been held, pitting unranked 7-5 teams that have never met and have little in common.
At least the early risers tuning in for the TicketCity Bowl between Texas Tech and Northwestern might recognize the setting - the Cotton Bowl.
Only the Rose Bowl has hosted more college bowls than this venue in Dallas' Fair Park.
Its namesake game moved to the Dallas Cowboys' palatial new home last season, and some locals thought it was a shame for the 92,000-seat stadium to sit empty on New Year's Day. So they came up with a matchup between middling schools from the Big 12 and Big Ten to take its place.
"To get an opportunity to step out on these historic grounds is a great honor," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said Friday.
Alas, many of the stadium's seats still might be empty today. As of Friday, plenty of good seats were available. The TicketCity website was offering 50-yard line, upper-deck seats for $34.
A long drought
But a bowl is a bowl, and for Northwestern that means a chance to win a bowl for the first time since 1949, ending an embarrassing connection to the many decades the Wildcats were considered Mildcats.
The program became competitive again in the mid-1990s and is making its third straight bowl appearance under Fitzgerald. Yet the bowl skid is up to seven in a row, with the agony of losing in overtime each of the past two postseasons.
"Nobody wants to be the one team in college football that hasn't won a bowl game in 62 years" left tackle Al Netter said Friday. "As players, we talk about it. It gives us extra motivation."
One more piece of motivation for the Wildcats seniors: A victory would be their 35th, the most for any class since the early 1900s.
Northwestern's season took a dramatic turn when quarterback Dan Persa tore an Achilles' tendon while throwing a game-winning touchdown pass against Iowa on Nov. 13. Not only did it lose its final two games, the defense allowed 118 points.
And now it has to try to stop Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders are finishing their first season under coach Tommy Tuberville - who replaced Mike Leach - but they still know how to find the end zone.
They've scored 99 points their past two games, and they scored 45 points in a victory over Baylor on this field early this season.
"We are comfortable with the environment," safety Cody Davis said. "But it is the same (as any) field. Once we get on it, we just have to play our style of ball."
Last season, Tech's bowl week preparations were overshadowed by the tumultuous firing of Leach.
This week, the Red Raiders have said goodbye to defensive coordinator James Willis, who was sent away after asking permission to look into other jobs.
"We had our game plan put together; players knew what to do," Tuberville said. "So all we had to do was adjust who was going to call the defenses and how we were going to structure the signaling.
"So it's really not that much of a change."
Big 12 struggling
The Big 12 Conference is having a rough bowl season, going 1-4.
Northwestern has taken note of the fact Big Ten teams are 2-0 against Big 12 schools.
"I can take a lot of pride in the way the conference has played to this point," Fitzgerald said, "but that has nothing to do with this game."
This game could help Northwestern in recruiting. Fitzgerald has plenty of Texans and would love to lure more to the Evanston, Ill., campus.
"We're going to check his charter tomorrow when we leave to make sure he doesn't take a lot back with him, leave a few down here," Tuberville said, smiling.
"I think there's enough to go around," Fitzgerald said.

(source:chron.com)

Rewind Time: Ciroc the New Year with Kourtney Kardashian

If you couldn't make it to Miami for our Ciroc the New Year celebration with Kourtney Kardashian, no worries. We've archived our livestream of the event so you can relive it on video above (the show-proper starts at about the 5 minute mark).

Not to spoil the fun, but Kourtney looked hot wearing a curve-alicious turquoise dress. Chic, of course, but also...Dolphins colors!

And after counting down to the New Year, Kourtney sat down with Michael Yo and me to chat, dropping a few juicy details about Kim's dating life when the sisters Take New York, starting January 23.

Rewind New Year's eve with us as we mix specialty cocktails, talk fashion and mingle with the beautiful people in South Beach!



(source:eonline.com)

Time to embrace the new year and let go of the past

Like the ebb and flow of life, we enter another year and, according to some, another decade. It seems like I just got used to writing 2010 and now it is time to retrain my brain to write 2011. For those into college football, the celebration of a new year does not get any better than today with six bowl games on television.

Many African-American churches ushered in the New Year by having Watch Night Services. Praise and worship services began in late evening and ended with prayer at midnight. Some churches followed worship with a midnight buffet, music and dancing. The party goes on until the wee hours of the morning.

We are blessed to see a new year. Some of us are here despite our poor self-care and behavior in the world. We made it to 2011 purely by grace.

Others behaved better and made better choices, yet did not live to see this New Year. While we will miss our loved ones dearly, we can honor their memory by living well and by speaking their names.

As we take time to reflect on this New Year, there may be some things we need to let go of before we get too far into 2011. Mistakes and bad decisions can haunt us unnecessarily for years. Once we have made restitution and asked for forgiveness, it is time to let it go. Reliving mistakes over and over will not change the past. We can learn from our poor choices and resolve to do differently if placed in a similar situation. Forgiving ourselves can be tough, but it is essential to becoming a better person.

Foreclosures, unemployment and severe cuts in governmental and social services did not make 2010 a very good year for many families. To those unemployed or underemployed, we pray 2011 brings full employment and full pantries. Those living on the edge of survival have been there too long. Hopefully 2011 will be a year of plenty.

For those of us on vacation and school break, it is back to our routines Monday. What can we do in this New Year to make it better than last? While stopping global warming may be a bit ambitious for Jan. 3, we can take small steps to remake ourselves. Offering a pleasant good morning to those you work with may be the beginning of your personal makeover. Taking out the garbage, washing dishes or picking up your laundry without being asked can be your contribution toward better family dynamics.

Of course, there are those perennial New Year's resolutions. Maybe this year you really will lose those 20 pounds, quit smoking or exercise three times a week.

Resolutions are great. At least we give some thought to what will improve our lives and the world around us. Even if our resolve lasts only a week, that is better than not trying at all. Maybe this year your self-control and determination to be and do better will last at least a month.

As we ponder what this year will bring, we can dream big. Maybe this will be the year for world peace. We can pray that leaders around the globe will stop using theology and the name of God as an excuse to abuse power and act violently toward others. We pray that the love of God inspires us to live justly and honor creation and the divinity in us all.

Enjoy this new day and New Year. We have a clean slate before us and we can make choices about our direction and our destiny.

If we seek God's wisdom, the journey will be filled with peace, joy and purpose.


(source:nwsource.com)

Big Names Lined Up For “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”

NEW YORK (December 31, 2010)--Ke$ha and Taio Cruz headline "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest" Friday in Times Square in New York City.

Cruz plans to sing John Lennon's "Imagine."


The New Kids and Backstreet Boys will perform together.

On the West Coast, the lineup includes Avril Lavigne, Ne-Yo, Drake and Train.

Jennifer Hudson will be there, too, along with Natasha Bedingfield and Willow Smith. Black Eyed Peas will host the West Coast part of the show.

You'll be able to buy Taio (TY'-oh) Cruz's cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" starting Saturday through Jan. 31 on iTunes.

Proceeds from sales will go to Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Avril Lavigne will debut her new song "What the Hell" Friday and she’ll offer free downloads of the song on her Facebook page for 48 hours starting Saturday.

Taio Cruz performs at Times Square on New Year’s Eve 2011 (Video)

Tonight Taio Cruz performed a medley for the crowds in Times Square. The entertainer sang a medley of his hits for ‘Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve.’ One of the dozen acts tonight seen on the streets of New York City, the entertainer had the crowd moving and singing while waiting for Midnight to ring in the New Year 2011.
Looking like he was having a great time, Cruz interacted with the crowd during his performance and wore his stylish trademark sunglasses. The stage, set above the crowd and in perfect angles of the camera not only helped capture the performance of the night but shared the excitement in Times Square.

Your Guide to New York’s New Year’s Eve Love-In

It’s New Year’s Eve, and the organizers and sponsors of the bash in Times Square want you to pucker up.

Apparently, 2011 is the year of love. This year’s celebration will include a “Kiss Platform” where two long-distance couples will be reunited and 30,000 revelers will receive samples of lip balm, courtesy of Nivea, one of the sponsors of the event, in preparation for smooching at midnight. Even the 12-foot wide, 11,875 pound geodesic sphere that an estimated one billion people will watch is themed “Let There Be Love.” Waterford Crystal has added 288 new triangles etched with “a romantic pattern” that will join the 2,688 crystals covering 32,256 digitally controlled Philips Luxeon L.E.D.’s, which use about as much energy per hour as two traditional home ovens.

And by the time it’s all over, the 453 bulbs that light the seven-foot-tall “2011″ sign and the tons of confetti fall into the slush, one couple will have been pronounced man and wife.

Two Marine Corps reservists, Bethany Phillips and Geoffrey Dubie, who met in Iraq and were engaged on a Bahamian beach, were selected in Get Married Media’s “Get Married in Times Square contest” to be the first couple in the celebration’s 106-year history to recite their vows in front of the throngs of revelers in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and one of his daughters will be there, as will aging performers from the 1980s like Rick Springfield, Backstreet Boys and NKOTB, with a special performance by the English singer Taio Cruz, who will sing “Falling In Love” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Snooki, from MTV’s reality series “Jersey Shore,” will not be there, however. Here is the complete schedule of the evening’s events.


Mary Altaffer/Associated Press
Front loaders removed snow from Broadway, north of Times Square on Thursday.
The festivities will begin at 4 p.m. under partly cloudy skies with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark.

Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, which produces the event with Countdown Entertainment, estimated the organizers lost about a day due to the blizzard. But with the help of shovels, plows, industrial special snow melting machines and 500,000 pairs of feet trudging through the area, very little white will be left.

“The show must go on and the snow must be gone,” he said.

Where to Watch

Last year’s live Webcast was seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers in 196 countries worldwide, though many reported sluggish service, undoubtedly due to overtaxed networks. You can watch the stream, beginning at 5:50 p.m. Friday and ending after midnight, on TimesSquareNYC.org; Livestream.com/2011, TimesSquareBall.net, or below:



Watch live streaming video from 2011 at livestream.com

Revelers on the go can download the first official Times Square Ball App and watch on-demand videos at a comfortable arms-length distance from their mobile device, which is available for Android and Apple users free on iTunes. Mobile networks permitting, users with the application will be able to watch the entire six-and-a-half-hour sequence of events and post photos of their own celebrations, a selection of which will be projected on the “Toshiba Vision” sign below the Times Square Ball.

Check into Times Square on FourSquare, download the Facebook application, or use Twitter with the hashtag #TimesSquareBall.

Safety

At a news conference on Thursday morning, Mayor Bloomberg outlined the basic rules.

“No backpacks, no alcohol, you’ve got to behave,” he said. “The kinds of things you would expect. Every year we have a great celebration and I think this will be another one.”

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, who was also at the news conference, added that, “we have no specific threats against the city on New Year’s Eve. Any time large numbers of people come together, we put in our counterterrorism overlay.”

Asked if the police would do anything differently because of recent cases of package bombs emanating from overseas, Mr. Kelly said, “We always do things a little bit differently, we don’t want to get stuck in a rut, so some of our deployments will change. We have a lot of detection equipment that we deploy. We have blocker cars; over sixty blocker cars that will be in place; our helicopters. There’s thirty-three dinner cruises on the river. We police those. There’s a lot of activity going on. We have a lot of experience in dealing with it. And, again, I think it will be a safe and happy event.”

Mr. Kelly said the department was sensitive to any signs of a dirty bomb or radiation.

“We have several thousand radiation detectors that are deployed with our officers,” he said. “We have large radiation detection equipment that we deploy on vehicles. We actually have it on all our harbor launches in the water, so we’re certainly very sensitive to that issue.”


Marcus Yam for The New York Times
Daniel McGowan sorts out inflated balloons to be handed out at the event.
Getting There

The New York Police Department will begin restricting access to streets in and around Times Square about 2:30 p.m. Seventh Avenue, from 41st to 59th Streets, Broadway, from 47th to 59th Streets and 43rd to 47th Streets, from Sixth to Eighth Avenue, will all be closed to traffic.

When Times Square closes to vehicle traffic at 3:00 p.m., revelers can begin to fill up the viewing sections along Broadway and Seventh Avenue, moving northward from 43rd Street to Central Park, as designated by Police Officers.

Beginning at 5 p.m. 42nd Street from 6th to Eighth Avenues will be closed to traffic.

Moving across town between 42nd and 59th Streets will be difficult after 6 p.m. You won’t be allowed to cross Broadway or Seventh Avenue once the streets have been closed. If your destination is east of Broadway/Seventh Avenue, you must enter at Sixth Avenue. If your destination is west of Broadway/Seventh Avenue, you must enter at Eighth Avenue.

Visitors are encouraged to walk or take the subway to 42nd Street. Note that only the Sixth and Eighth Avenue exits will be open after 7 p.m. The southbound and northbound N/R lines will skip the 49th Street station beginning at 7 p.m., until after midnight, and the northbound No. 1 train will skip the 50th Street station during the same period.

Once you get out of the subway, police officers will direct you to viewing sections marked off with barricades that are first-come-first-served.

The official rules state:

Backpacks and large bags prohibited
Alcoholic beverages prohibited
Property may not be abandoned at checkpoints
Attendees who leave before the ball drops will not be able to gain entry to their original viewing area

Marcus Yam for The New York Times
Landmark Sign company workers erected the illuminated ball during a dress rehearsal.
The organizers, the mayor and the police department are planning on another success this year.

The goal, Mr. Tompkins said, is to “break through that lovable but persistent cynicism of New Yorkers and to ask: What are we hopeful about and what are we celebrating?”

“It’s a determination to celebrate despite the trials and tribulations and traumas of life,” he added.


(source:blogs.nytimes.com)

Ke$ha: New Year's Rockin Eve Performer!

Ke$ha hits the stage to perform on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on Friday (December 31) in New York City.

The day before, the 23-year-old pop phenom was spotted leaving her hotel en route to rehearsals.

Ryan co-hosted the annual bash, while Jenny McCarthy served as a special correspondent.

Also performing in Times Square: Taio Cruz!

10+ pictures inside of Ke$ha, Taio Cruz, Jenny McCarthy on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve…
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Photos: Lou Rocco/ABC




(source:justjared.buzznet.com)

NYC welcomes 2011 with traditional ball-drop, revelers

New York (Profile Facts) -- An estimated 1 million people marked the passing of one year and the beginning of another in New York's Times Square with the descent of an iconic ball.
With the help of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Salvatore A. Giunta, the dazzling crystal ball began its 70-foot drop at 11:59 p.m. Friday to the harmonious chants of New Year's Eve revelers counting down the final seconds of 2010.
More than one ton of confetti was released at midnight, with personal individual wishes written in more than 25 languages, a tradition from the past three years.
Weighing in at 11,875 pounds with a diameter of 12 feet, the sparkling sphere is covered with 2,668 triangular crystals and is powered by 32,256 LED lights. By mixing red, blue, green and white light elements, the ball's lighting system is capable of producing a kaleidoscopic array of 16 million hues and colors, and billions of patterns, the event's website says.
Each giant New Year's numeral making up "2-0-1-1" will stand seven feet high and the numerals will use a total 453 9-watt LED bulbs. As in the past three years, the numerals were designed to be more energy efficient, as Duracell Batteries set up a lab in which visitors rode stationary bikes to provide the stored battery power that will light the numbers on the ball Friday night.
More than one ton of confetti will be released at midnight, with personal individual wishes written in more than 25 languages, a tradition from the past three years.
Times Square has served as one of the most popular sites of New Year's festivities since 1904, though the New Year's Eve ball made its inaugural drop down the flagpole at One Times Square in 1907. That first ball, built with iron and wood, featured one hundred light bulbs and was designed by Jacob Starr, a young immigrant metalworker.
The New Year's Eve ball has beamed and dropped every year since with the exceptions of 1942 and 1943, when the United States was embroiled in World War II and New York City observed a city-wide "dim-out" to cut energy costs.
According to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, this New Year's Eve celebration, like years in the past, is a product of a lot of hard work and planning by many people.
"We don't ever take it for granted," Kelly said. "The situation changes somewhat, we have sort of a core plan but we always add to it or change it -- we don't want to get stuck in a rut where we simply take a plan off the shelf."
As in previous years, security will be tight. Times Square will be closed to traffic at approximately 3 p.m. on Friday. Backpacks and alcohol are prohibited at the event and party-goers can expect a beefed-up police presence, according to the statement from the New York Police Department.
"It is a big complex operation and you know you always breathe a sigh of relief when it's over," Kelly said.


(source:cnn.com)

Times Square Ball Drop Live Stream Online Video

If you can’t be in Times Square in New York City for New Year’s Eve, then why not do the next best thing? You can watch the New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop 2011 live stream online video below.

Live Ball Drop 2010 Full Video


Thousands of people are already gathered in Times Square ready to ring in 2011 in style! Watching the New Year’s Eve 2011 live streaming video online is a great way to get in on the action from the comfort of your own living room. The folks in Times Square may be closer to the party, but watching from home will definitely keep you a lot warmer!
Watching the ball drop in Times Square is a time-honored tradition that families have enjoyed for years. Will you be watching the New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop live stream online video?

New Yorkers Celebrate

Fireworks rang out and confetti rained down as about one-million revelers welcomed the year 2011 in Times Square Friday night.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, his girlfriend Diana Taylor, his daughter and Medal of Honor Recipient Staff Sergeant Salvatore A. Giunta triggered the traditional ball drop, which was followed as usual by a recording of "Auld Lang Syne" and then Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York."

John Lennon's "Imagine" was performed by pop star Taio Cruz in its customary spot leading up to midnight.

Revelers began gathering as early as 10 a.m. to locate the best spot.

"It's on my bucket list," said one Times Square visitor.
"I turned 21 in November so this is my 21st birthday present," said another.

This year, the famed crystal ball featured 2,500 Waterford crystals illuminated with LED lights.

The agency estimated the crowd left more than 40 tons of party hats, noisemakers, confetti and streamers following the celebration. Officials said nearly 150 sanitation workers armed with dozens of mechanical sweepers, trucks and leaf blowers helped clear everything out for New Year's Day.

Security in the area was typically tight, with the New York City Police Department using radiological and biological detectors as part of the security operations.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says while there were no specific threats, the department takes no chances.

"Anyone who enters the area will receive a magnitometer check and it may be more than once quite frankly," said the police commissioner. "Women will have to open their purses, men will have to open their jackets. We find that this is helpful and the way to make certain it's a safe and peaceful event."

Around the world Friday, revelers gathered to bid farewell to 2010.

In Australia more than a million revelers lined the Sydney Harbour Bridge to watch the massive fireworks display over the water as the clock struck 12.

While in nearby New Zealand, fireworks lit up the Auckland sky at midnight.
In South Korea, the celebrations were a little more subdued.

As the New Year hit, more than a 100,000 people gathered to watch as officials rang a giant bronze bell. It tolled 33 times -- a tradition that dates back to the 1300s.

In Hong Kong, a large crowd gathered in Victoria Harbour to watch a dazzling display, as fireworks appeared to bounce off of buildings across the skyline.

A similar display was also seen by revelers in Taiwan.

A large, upscale mall in Bangkok provided the backdrop for the big fireworks show as the clock struck 12 in Thailand.

And, at the Vatican, thousands were in attendance as the pope presided over the traditional New Year's Mass.

(source:ny1.com)

World welcomes new year with celebrations

NEW YORK -- Visitors crowded into Times Square on Friday for the storied New Year's Eve ball drop, the largest of many events across the country planned to usher in 2011.
Across the globe, dazzling fireworks lit up Australia's Sydney Harbor, communist Vietnam held a rare Western-style countdown to the new year, and Japanese revelers released balloons carrying notes with people's hopes and dreams.
In New York, as many as 1 million people were expected for the Times Square celebration. The city is still digging out from a debilitating Dec. 26 blizzard that dumped 20 inches of snow on streets that still haven't been entirely cleared. Security in Times Square was tight just eight months after a Pakistani immigrant attempted to detonate a car bomb there.
In Chicago, unseasonably warm temperatures that reached the 50s during the day helped draw a robust crowd to Navy Pier for two fireworks shows.
Tens of thousands gathered in Southern California for Rose Bowl pep rallies in Pasadena and at the historic Santa Monica Pier.
In Las Vegas, where temperatures were dipping to the high 20s, nearly 320,000 partiers hit the famed Strip, with celebrity musicians Jay-Z and Coldplay performing a private show broadcast to the street from the marquee of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas casino. Other warm and party-friendly cities like New Orleans, Miami and Atlanta also hosted large celebrations.
In Europe, Greeks, Irish and Spaniards began partying through the night to help put a year of economic woe behind them.
Around 50,000 people, many sporting large, brightly colored wigs, gathered in Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square to take part in Las Uvas, or The Grapes, a tradition in which people eat a grape for each of the 12 chimes of midnight. Chewing and swallowing the grapes to each tolling of a bell is supposed to bring good luck, while cheating is frowned on and revelers believe it brings misfortune.
"If you eat the grapes your wishes will come true," beautician Anita Vargas said.
As the 12th grape was swallowed, the skies above most Spanish cities lit up with fireworks.
2010 was a grim year for the European Union, with Greece and Ireland needing bailouts, and countries such as Spain and Portugal finding themselves in financial trouble as well.
"Before, we used to go out, celebrate in a restaurant, but the last two years we have had to stay at home," said Madrid florist Ernestina Blasco, whose husband, a construction worker, is out of work.
In Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, an estimated 55,000 people packed a square in front of the city's elegant French colonial-style opera house for their first New Year's countdown blowout, complete with dizzying strobe lights and thumping techno music spun by international DJs.
Vietnamese typically save their biggest celebrations for Tet, the lunar new year that begins Feb. 3. But in recent years, Western influence has started seeping into Vietnamese culture among teens, who have no memory of war or poverty and are eager to find a new reason to party.
At Japan's Zojoji temple in Tokyo, monks chanted, and revelers marked the arrival of the new year by releasing silver balloons with notes inside. The temple's giant 15-ton bell rang in the background.
In Seoul, South Korea, more than 80,000 people celebrated by watching a traditional bell-ringing ceremony and fireworks, while North Korea on Saturday welcomed the new year with a push for better ties with its neighbor, warning that war "will bring nothing but a nuclear holocaust."



(source:star-telegram.com)

New York, New York Welcomes 2011

NEW YORK (Profile Facts) – Hundreds of thousands of U.S. revelers have cheered the traditional ball drop in New York’s Times Square to mark the start of 2011 hours after dazzling fireworks lit up Australia’s Sydney Harbor for the new year.
Communist Vietnam held a rare Western-style countdown to midnight Friday. And Japanese revelers released silver balloons carrying notes with people’s hopes and dreams.
A Times Square crowd estimated at up to a million people hollered as a ball with 32,000 lights descended in the run-up to midnight. The celebration took place just days after a blizzard paralyzed the city and months after a failed car bombing.
In Europe, Greeks, Irish and Spaniards partied through the night to help put a year of economic woe behind them. Fireworks lit the sky over London in red, white and blue — the colors of the Union Jack.
Please click here to see a gallery of images from the 2011 countdown in Times Square.
All around the United States, people said they were setting aside concerns about the economy, bad winter weather and even potential terrorist threats to ring in 2011 at large and small gatherings.
Even more than most years, New York was in the spotlight as it battled back from a severe snowstorm and security concerns eight months after a Pakistani immigrant tried to detonate a car bomb in Times Square. Police said the city wasn’t the target of a New Year’s Eve terror threat, but they had a strict security plan in place, with sealed manhole covers, counter-snipers on rooftops and checkpoints for partygoers.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has endured days of withering criticism for the city’s slow response to the Dec. 26 storm, which dumped 20 inches of snow. But the president of the Times Square Alliance said holiday tourists helped clear streets.
“We have the best snow plow ever invented — 500,000 pairs of feet walking through Times Square,” Tim Tompkins said. “That’s been melting our snow.”
As rain clouds cleared over in Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square, around 50,000 people, many sporting large, brightly colored wigs, gathered to take part in Las Uvas, or The Grapes, a tradition in which people eat a grape for each of the 12 chimes of midnight. Chewing and swallowing the grapes to each tolling of a bell is supposed to bring good luck, while cheating is frowned upon and revelers believe it brings misfortune.
Police had painstakingly screened all those arriving to make sure drinks and bottles were left behind to avoid injury in the crowded square, so many quickly downed their sparkling cava wine before joining the animated party.
“It’s an annual tradition, and I’m here to make my wishes for the new year. If you eat the grapes your wishes will come true,” beautician Anita Vargas said.
As the 12th grape was swallowed, the skies above most Spanish cities lit up with fireworks that slowly filled the air with smoke and the smell of gunpowder.
2010 was a grim year for the European Union, with Greece and Ireland needing bailouts and countries such as Spain and Portugal finding themselves in financial trouble as well.
“Before, we used to go out, celebrate in a restaurant, but the last two years we have had to stay at home,” said Madrid florist Ernestina Blasco, whose husband, a construction worker, is out of work.
In Greece, thousands of people spent the last day of 2010 standing in line at tax offices to pay their road tax or sign up for tax amnesty.
“We can see that the quality of life is being degraded every day,” Athens resident Giorgos Karantzos said. “What can I say? I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
New Zealanders and South Pacific island nations were among the first to celebrate at midnight. In New Zealand’s Auckland, explosions of red, gold and white burst over the Sky Tower, while tens of thousands of people danced and sang in the streets below. In Christchurch, partyers shrugged off a minor earthquake that struck just before 10 p.m.
Multicolored starbusts and gigantic sparklers lit the midnight sky over Sydney Harbor in a pyrotechnics show witnessed by 1.5 million spectators.
“This has got to be the best place to be in the world tonight,” Marc Wilson said.
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered along Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor to watch fireworks explode from the roofs of 10 of the city’s most famous buildings.
In Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, an estimated 55,000 people packed a square in front of the city’s elegant French colonial-style opera house for their first New Year’s countdown blowout, complete with dizzying strobe lights and thumping techno music spun by international DJs.
Vietnamese typically save their biggest celebrations for Tet, the lunar new year that begins on Feb. 3. But in recent years, Western influence has started seeping into Vietnamese culture among teens, who have no memory of war or poverty and are eager to find a new reason to party.
At Japan’s Zojoji temple in Tokyo, monks chanted and revelers marked the arrival of the new year by releasing silver balloons with notes inside. The temple’s giant 15-ton bell rang in the background.
In Seoul, South Korea, more than 80,000 people celebrated by watching a traditional bell ringing ceremony and fireworks, while North Korea on Saturday welcomed the new year with a push for better ties with its neighbor, warning that war “will bring nothing but a nuclear holocaust.”
In Dubai, the world’s tallest building was awash in fireworks from the base to its needle-like spire nearly a half-mile (828 meters) above. Sparkling silver rays shot out from the Burj Khalifa in a 10-minute display.
In Rio de Janeiro, more than 2 million people gathered on Copacabana beach’s white sand for 20 minutes of fireworks, music and the unveiling of the logo for the 2016 Olympics. Traffic was shut down along the neighborhood’s main thoroughfares for much of the day in preparation for a party rivaled only by Carnival. Revelers drank and danced to samba played on stages along the 2.5-mile beach, and at midnight many waded into the water, jumping over seven waves for good luck.
In France, police were on alert for terror attacks and for celebrations getting out of hand. Rampaging youths typically set fire to scores of vehicles on New Year’s Eve. Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said 53,820 police officers were mobilized, 6,000 more than usual.
France has been extra vigilant following threats from al-Qaida and the kidnapping of five French citizens in Niger.
Italians rang in the new year with illegal fireworks, shot off in squares and alleys — a tradition that usually results in numerous hand and eye injuries. Naples police Chief Santi Giuffre appealed to citizens to “give up or at least cut back on this” practice.
In central London, an estimated quarter-million revelers saw in the new year as red, white and blue fireworks — the colors of the Union Jack — shot from around the London Eye, lighting up the sky over the River Thames.
In Scotland, the four-day Hogmanay festival began Thursday night with a torch-lit procession through the streets of Edinburgh. Around 25,000 people took part, marching to the top of a hill to watch the burning of a model Viking ship. Hogmanay is derived from the winter solstice festival celebrated by the Vikings.
The Dutch celebrate by eating deep-fried dough balls covered in powdered sugar and washed down with champagne. The Danes jump off chairs to “leap into the new year.” And the Austrians twirl in the new year with a waltz, carrying radios so they can dance to Strauss’ “Blue Danube” as the clock strikes midnight.


(source:cbslocal.com