This is an eyewitness report from the NowPublic member Pythiian1 who is on the scene.
New York City Rings in 2009 with Style and Security
Since yesterday, Dec.30, the familiar blue and steel barricades were set up along the side-streets, no parking zones were enforced from 33rd to 59th Streets and from Sixth Avenue to Eighth Avenue, and all mailboxes and man-holes were sealed temporarily.
Welcome to the City with the biggest party. The theme is "Let There Be Joy."
The giant 12,000-pound ball with 26,000 Waterford crystals and 32,000 LED bulbs was already raised to the top by the time I decided to walk up to the area. This Waterford crystal ball will remain on display in the city after the New Year.
Security is especially higher as the New York Police Department (NYPD) welcomes 1,129 newly-minted officers among its rank. This year, the NYPD will be working with the Secret Service Agents as the Clintons are expected to join Mayor Michael Bloomberg to welcome in 2009 in Times Square.
The city is home to a large population of strong supporters on each side of the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, which raises the security concern to higher than usual. The mayor, Michael Bloomberg has taken an international stance as he sides with Israeli reaction to the rocket attacks.
This morning, the sky is gray as the temperature dips to 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow with wind-chill factor will drive the temperature to 18 degrees Fahrenheit by the time the Clintons and Mayor Michael Bloomberg press the button to release the New Year's ball to its countdown descent in Times Square.
Street closures will start at 3:30 pm today from Seventh Avenue and Broadway, from 41st to 59th Streets, and 43rd through 47th Street including Sixth and Eighth Avenue. By 6:30 pm these streets and avenues will be sealed off and only foot traffic is permitted on the streets.
Random security check-points are set up to clear those who want to enter these secured areas.
Security sweep on the grounds and in the air have already begun as of this writing. Helicopters are seen and heard as they are patrolling the Hudson River and western neighborhood's vicinity.
On another security note, the revelers have been warned not to bring backpacks, large bags, and absolutely No Alcohol. Once the revelers have been scanned to enter the particular sections, they will not be permitted to return if they decide to wander out of their sections before the ball drops.
The revelers are told to dress warmly as the temperature is expected to dip somewhere near 0 degrees Fahrenheit with wind-chill factor. Warm and non-alcoholic beverages will be offered to those revelers lucky enough to know where the stands will be stationed.
The New Year Party's organizer, Tim Tompkins promises the revelers a catchy 3-Musketeers confetti wishing wall where people write their wishes on confetti that will be dropped at midnight, the Nivea practiced-kisses at every hour on the hour, and other live entertainments.
This Manhattanite writer wishes the NP staff, contributors, and readers a Happy and Peaceful New Year.
Since the article was posted earlier in the day, some updated photos had been added by the writer among (thanks to) a slew of NP staff's, contributors' and readers' contributions.