From spectacular fireworks and dazzling light shows to dancing in the streets and all-around revelry, millions around the world assembled in streets, parks and public squares to cheer the advent of yet another year, as we race toward the end of the second decade of the 21st century.
Let’s take you through a recap of the New Year Eve celebrations in five world cities that stood out, although there are tens of others that can easily find a place in this list of five. So, don’t be disheartened if you don’t find your favorite New Year Eve cities on this list.
In keeping with its reputation of being a trend-setting world city, Dubai did not disappoint with the Burj Khalifa laser show welcoming the New Year at the stroke of midnight.
So, grand was the spectacle that it created a world record for the biggest light show on a single building, which itself holds the record for being the tallest in the world.
A surface area of 109,252 square meters was covered with a spectacular laser-lit message “Light Up 2018,” which, again, is a new Guinness World record, more than double of Hong Kong’s ICC Building record set in 2013.
This is what Guinness World Record’s Country Manager Talal Omar had to say about the record:
“We are always keen to find out what records Emaar plan to attempt each year, and to support them as they continue to push the boundaries of technology and innovation in these attempts.”
The seven-minute show paid visual homage to U.A.E.’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in commemoration of the “Year of Zayed” – his hundredth birth anniversary.
“The “Light Up 2018’ spectacle is our tribute to the nation, celebrating its accomplishments, and putting the UAE on the global map as a true hub where inspiring minds meet and connect,” said the Chairman of Emaar Properties, Mohamed Alabbar.
“Light Up 2018” was a replacement for the traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks, which was recently abandoned out of “security concerns,” drawing mixed reactions.
It has to be said, though, that the Downtown Dubai post announcing the laser show delivered on its promise.
“We have several surprises in store this year. We’re lighting up the sky and celebrating the New Year with an innovative performance that will dazzle the world and put the global spotlight on the UAE and Dubai,” read the post.
More than hundred thousand ticketholders, who had assembled on the banks of the Thames, started the countdown to the New Year in one resonating voice. And, then the sky above the waters of the famous river lit up in an eruption of lights and colors.
Big Ben’s big bongs and London Eye as the centerpiece amid the amazing display only added to the spectacle.
Central London rocked to the female-dominated soundtrack from artists such as Ariana Grande, Aretha Franklin, and Florence Welch “to mark the centenary of women getting the vote,” reported BBC.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted that in London “we celebrate our diversity and strive for equality”.
According to the London Ambulance Service, nearly 80 people were hospitalized while 300 people across central London were treated by LAS on the spot, most of them suffering from alcohol-induced conditions. Some received treatment for minor cuts and bruises.
— London Ambulance Service (@Ldn_Ambulance) January 1, 2018
— London Ambulance Service (@Ldn_Ambulance) January 1, 2018
New York, U.S.A.
Even bone-chilling teeth-chattering temperatures, hovering around -12° Celcius (10° F), could not deter a million people, perhaps more, to assemble in Times Square to witness the New Year’s ball drop, as confetti rained down on the street.
Throngs of revelers – bundled up in extra layers of clothing – braved the freezing cold to watch the famous ball drop, just as the countdown ended.
The lights, colors, and the exploding starry patterns in the sky above the banks of the Hudson were no less impressive than any other show in the world.
In light of 2017’s worldwide terror attacks, including the recent Las Vegas massacre by a lone gunman and three incidents in New York itself, security was extra beefed-up for the New Year’s Eve extravaganza, to avoid any untoward incident.
The unprecedented arrangements included street blockades, police dogs, extra checkpoints and more law enforcement personnel on the streets, including undercover officers -basically, the whole works.
According to CNN, this is what the NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said, “before the East Coast clock struck midnight.”
“You will see a stronger police presence out there than we’ve seen, even than what we’ve seen in recent years. And that’s prudent, given the terror events we have seen and studied around the world as well as the three incidents here in New York over the past 15 months.”
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The waters along the crescent of Rio’s Copacabana beach erupted with precisely placed pyrotechnics just as the clock struck twelve, lighting up the midnight sky above with a spectrum of colors and wowing the thousands assembled for the spectacle along this famous Rio beach.
Following the seventeen-minute light show, it was singer Anitta lighting up the night on stage with her single “Vai Malandra” – a song that recorded 84 million YouTube views in two weeks.
Performers from the traditional Carnaval samba schools also entertained the huge crowds.
The city’s new Mayor Marcelo Crivella had anticipated a gathering of three million people at the world-renowned beach and, don’t forget, we’re talking close to half of the city’s inhabitants.
However, locals were of the opinion that Brazil’s economic woes would surely affect the celebrations. On an average, around two million people attend the New Year celebrations at the beach every year.
As witnessed in most, if not all, world cities, the Copacabana show was observed amid tight security, with some 2,000 law enforcement officers patrolling the Copacabana neighborhood, what with yet another year of street violence in Rio.
One of the first cities to usher in the New Year was the New South Wales capital of Sydney when at the stroke of midnight the sky above Sydney Harbor lit up with an explosion of spectacular colors and dazzling lights from one of the finest pyrotechnics display the city has ever seen.
So impressed was the city’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore with the awesome fireworks above the iconic landmark that she said it would “promote Sydney to the world.”
“The most technologically advanced fireworks display I’m told,” she said. “It’ll promote Sydney to the world. There’ll be a billion viewers out there watching.”
Some 1.6 million people were at the Sydney Harbor area to witness the awesome display, which included a massive cascade of colors and lights off the harbor’s bridge in celebration of the recent legalization of gay marriage in the country.
Reportedly, eight tons of fireworks were used in the twelve-minute harbor show.