New York - Hundreds of thousands of people
crammed into New York's Times Square to bid farewell to the old year and
watch Lady Gaga trigger the famous drop of a crystal ball marking the
start of 2012.
A raucous crowd that New York police said was up
to a million people enjoyed unusually warm weather, screaming and
cheering in front of a top-drawer line-up of entertainers including Lady
Gaga and Justin Beiber before midnight on Saturday.
spilled from the "Crossroads of the World" into adjacent avenues in the
biggest US public celebration of New Year's, which climaxed with the
slow slide of a huge crystal-encrusted ball.
Gaga, dressed in a
huge silver mask and matching dress, and New York Mayor Michael
Bloomberg pressed the switch to send the glittering ball on its descent.
Confetti poured over Times Square and elaborate fireworks lit up the
sky over Manhattan.
Times Square has hosted the Big Apple's
biggest party since 1904, with the ball drop starting in 1907. The fact
that New Year's Day fell on a Sunday and relatively balmy temperatures
for winter helped boost this year's turnout.
In addition to pop
diva Gaga and teen sensation Beiber, New York saw rock veteran Chuck
Berry perform at a club, and opera great Placido Domingo, 70, sing at
The Metropolitan Opera.
The celebrations were also an excuse for
some innovative spin-offs and marketing gimmicks, not least the "Bytox
Hangover Prevention Remedy" promising to stop the new year's headache.