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CNN All Platform Journalist
Times Square, New York (CNN) - Arriving early for the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square is not for the faint at heart. Those who dare show in the morning will doubtlessly have fun but once they enter the fenced-in viewing areas what they won’t have is any way to keep warm, anything to eat and, perhaps, worst of all, no bathrooms.
“My feet hurt, my toes hurt, I’m hungry and I need to use the bathroom” says Victoria Chavez.
She came all the way to New York from Albuquerque, New Mexico with her boyfriend Manuel Romero who shares Victoria’s complaints as they await the arrival of midnight.
They still have five hours to go before the ball drops, but they don’t regret coming.
“How many people get to come to the biggest party in the world?” Romero says, “It’s well worth it, the chance of a lifetime”
Chavez has been passing the time on Facebook, posting pictures and status updates.
“Been here hours n counting! no restroom food chairs... just the crowds and the coldness!!,” she posted in the early evening.
Some of her online friends are dubious about their early arrival
“Dang girl that must suck dnt drink too much! Ur pics are so cool n exciting,” one of her Facebook friends posted.
But Chavez isn’t worried. “We’re sharing the moment with them, good and bad. We’re going with the flow,” she said.
Photo credit: Kim Segal/CNN
CNN Supervising Producer
(CNN) - If you have ever been to Key West, Florida you know that things are done with their own flair in this southernmost city in the United States.
The city even "seceded" from the country in 1982 when the residents protested a U.S. Border Patrol roadblock on the highway that leads to the Florida Keys. Mayor Dennis Wardlow read a proclamation of secession and the "Conch Republic" was born.
Just like the variety of people you will find down here, the city has enough New Year’s Eve midnight drop traditions to suit all visitors.
Sushi, a drag queen, is lowered in a red stiletto from the roof of the Bourbon Street Pub. This is where CNN's John Zarrella will be reporting live during our New Year’s Eve broadcast co-hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. Just up the street at midnight a pirate wench will descend from the top of a ship's mast. For an authentic “Conch Republic” countdown, there's a huge manmade conch shell that falls at midnight, when the party for "Conchs" and visitors is just getting started.
CNN All Platform Journalist
Times Square, New York (CNN) - The crowd in Times Square is peaceful and the whole event is extremely well organized, but New York City in the post 9-11 world can still be a tense place.
Around 3:30 in the afternoon police spot a man in the crowd wearing a backpack and pull him from the crowd. Backpacks are not allowed in the crowd, but somehow he got past the screening and was standing about 20 yards from the stage.
The man had a long beard and was wearing kaffiyeh, the scarf often worn in Middle Eastern countries.
In a minute or less, a dozen NYPD officers surrounded the man and searched his backpack. Police radios crackled and the crowds craned their necks for a peep.
"Is he a terrorist?," one person in the crowd whispered.
His backpack holds a sweatshirt and some books. A sigh of relief goes through the crowd as the police give him back his backpack and escort him outside the security perimeter.
The crowd goes back to laughing and partying, but despite the good cheer evident in the crowd, it's hard to forget that we'll face many of the same issues in 2011 that we have in 2010.
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