How cities around the world will usher in 2015

  • AFP
  • Updated: Dec 31, 2014 17:25 IST

In 2015, cities around the world will be introducing a lot of firsts, including the first year that Paris organizes an official New Year’s Eve celebration on the Champs-Elysées and the first time London implements a ticketing system for the festivities.

Here’s a look at how some of the biggest cities in the world will be ushering in the new year.

New York
Arguably the biggest and most iconic New Year’s Eve party in the world, this year’s edition of the ball drop will feature the biggest US starlet as its headliner, Taylor Swift, recently tapped as the Big Apple’s global ambassador. At 6 pm, the lighted Ball -- a sphere covered in 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles -- will rise atop One Times Square. At 11:59 pm, the Ball will begin its 70-foot descent and ring in 2015.

Set against the London Eye, the annual fireworks display draws hundreds of thousands of revelers every year for the 10-minute show. At midnight, Big Ben comes alive and lets out a series of 12 bongs, and the sky lights up in a stunningly choreographed pyrotechnics display that costs the city £1.8 million ($2.8 million). For the first time this year, the city has chosen to make the celebration a ticketed event. All 100,000 tickets have been sold out but the spectacle will be broadcast live on BBC One. Note: The show will not be screened in Trafalgar Square or Parliament Square.

For the first time, the City of Light will close off the Champs-Elysees to cars and host a New Year’s Eve party with a 3D mapping light show, beamed onto the Arc de Triomphe. Though the Champs-Elysées is one of the most popular gathering places for New Year’s revelers, 2014/2015 will mark the first time the city organizes an official event for the area. The light show will end with a countdown to midnight. The Eiffel Tower has in the past marked the new year with its own light show, flashing a rainbow of colors and its signature sparkles.

It’s a tall order for the glittering city of Dubai to beat last year’s New Year’s Eve performance, when it broke the record for the largest fireworks display in the world. In six minutes, 479,651 shells were fired. That’s a rate of nearly 80,000 shells a minute, or 1,332 fireworks per second. This year, the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, will turn its facade into a giant -- 828 meter-tall kind of giant -- LED projection screen that plays gold and silver strobe lights, a rainbow of rings and volcanic waves that scale up and down the building. Alongside pyrotechnics, the tower will erupt in a shower of stars as its finale.

Las Vegas
Like every year, New Year’s Eve in Sin City promises to be a carnivalesque extravaganza, when the entire Strip is shut down to traffic and 300,000 revelers take over the glittering city. At midnight, the casinos band together to put on a spectacular, choreographed fireworks show. This year’s New Year’s Eve entertainment includes Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Britney Spears at Axis Theater, Planet Hollywood.

Hong Kong
The place to be in Hong Kong is by Victoria Harbour, to catch the 8-minute fireworks show. Beginning at 11 pm, at 15-minute intervals, rooftops around the harbor will also pull off a coordinated show, firing off a series of ‘shooting stars’ on which revelers can make a wish for the new year. Vantage points include Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Kowloon, and The New Central Harbourfront on Hong Kong Island.

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