December 31st, 2010
09:09 PM ET

View of Times Square

CNN's Jim Spellman shows us the roof view of Times Square and talks to the crowd.

Filed under: Jim Spellman • New Year's Eve 2011
December 31st, 2010
08:57 PM ET

Video: 2011 New Year's Eve Props

CNN's Jim Spellman gives you a look at the 2011 props that people in the Times Square crowd are wearing.

Filed under: Jim Spellman • New Year's Eve 2011
December 31st, 2010
08:55 PM ET

Video: Backstage at CNN's NYE

CNN's Jim Spellman gives a backstage look of CNN's New Year's Eve show.

Filed under: Jim Spellman • New Year's Eve 2011
December 31st, 2010
07:30 PM ET

Times Square: Life in the Pen

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/12/31/art.chavezromero.jpg caption="Victoria Chavez and Manuel Romero have come from New Mexico to New York City to experience the arrival of 2011 in Times Square."]
Jim Spellman
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.

Filed under: Jim Spellman • New Year's Eve 2011
December 31st, 2010
05:49 PM ET

Video: Behind the Scenes – New Year's Eve on CNN

CNN's Jim Spellman gives a behind the scenes look at preps for CNN's New Year's Eve show.

Filed under: Jim Spellman • New Year's Eve 2011
December 31st, 2010
05:46 PM ET

Video: New Year's Eve in Times Square

CNN's Jim Spellman talks to people celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square.

Filed under: Jim Spellman • New Year's Eve 2011
December 31st, 2010
04:30 PM ET

Stray backpack reminds Times Square revelers of omnipresent security concerns

Jim Spellman
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.

Filed under: Jim Spellman • New Year's Eve 2011
December 31st, 2010
03:50 PM ET

Revelers come from far and wide for New Year's celebration

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/12/31/art.teambetty.jpg caption="'Team Betty' is already in Times Square eagerly awaiting tonight's performance by iconic boy band New Kids on The Block."]

Jim Spellman
CNN All Platform Journalist

Times Square, New York (CNN) — There really is no place like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. People come from all over the country, even all over the world, to be part of the celebration. With the midnight ball drop still many hours away, tens of thousands of revelers have already filled Times Square.

Jennifer Dudley drove overnight from Detroit with four of her friends to get a front row seat.

“Why? Because we love the guys. We support them. They give us love so we love them back.”

“The guys” in question are New Kids on the Block. The Kids may not be so new anymore, and at 30 years old neither is Jennifer, but they are performing in Times Square tonight along with their one time boy-band rivals The Backstreet Boys.

Dudley has been obsessed with NKOTB since she was 8 years old. She is partial to Donnie Wahlberg. Her homemade sign reads “Donnie-Kiss me at Midnight please!”

Their group calls themselves Team Betty. None of the five women have been to Times Square for New Year’s Eve before, but they often travel to see “the guys.” Earlier this year they even went on a New Kids on the Block Caribbean cruise.

Her teammate, Christy Sims, 35, is hoping to make a New Year’s Eve love connection.

Filed under: Jim Spellman • New Year's Eve 2011
December 9th, 2010
06:14 PM ET

In Haiti, people take to the streets

Editor's Note: Since Haiti’s presidential election results were announced Tuesday, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets. No candidate won a majority, forcing a runoff set for January 16th. The election council announced the two candidates who are in the runoff and supporters of the candidate left out have hit the streets in anger. CNN’s Jim Spellman is in Port-au-Prince. Read his first-hand account and scroll through the gallery of photos to find out what's really going on in Haiti right now.

Jim Spellman
CNN All Platform Journalist

The first thing I noticed in the morning was the thick black smoke hanging in the humid tropical air. We soon found the source: dozens, maybe hundreds, of fires set throughout the streets of Port-au-Prince.

The fires set the stage, then came the protesters by the thousands. Most are supporters of Michel Martelly, a popular entertainer turned politician. His supporters lovingly call him Sweet Mickey, his old stage name. The crowds chant "Tet Kale!", Creole for bald-head...a reference to Martelly shaved head.

They march through the streets with no particular place to go. On Wednesday a group burned down the headquarters of the Inite party. Inite is the party of unpopular president Rene Preval whose protégé Jude Celestin beat out Martelly for a spot in a January election.

On the street it goes way beyond simple politics. It is a year’s worth of anger and frustration pouring out. First the earthquake, whose impact is still evident everywhere in Port-au-Prince. Next came Hurricane Tomas, then the cholera outbreak.

Now the people on the street feel they have been cheated out of an election. Their shot at a chance to feel a little hope seems to be gone. For the people in the street of Port-au-Prince it's the one thing they can't afford to lose.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Global 360° • Haiti • Jim Spellman
September 30th, 2010
09:30 AM ET

One Simple Thing: Getting to zero

Jim Spellman
CNN All Platform Journalist

Ward, Colorado (CNN)–What if the power company sent you a check every month instead of a bill? Sounds pretty good, but is it possible? For about 100 households in America, the answer is yes. They call them “net-zero houses,” and they produce more energy than they use and they could be the way we all live in the future.

I drove from Denver up to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to visit net-zero homeowner Jeff Hohensee. I expected to see some sort of futuristic space pod or at least a geodesic dome but instead I found a 1970s split-level. Did I have the address wrong? Nope. This is the place.

Hohensee bought his house back in 2007. That first Rocky Mountain winter was a shock.

“Our first winter our energy bill was through the roof. January was knocking on the door of something like a thousand bucks a month out the door,” he says.

A thousand bucks a month? Yikes.

He knew something had to change. He began with small steps. He went to Home Depot and bought a caulk gun and started plugging gaps around windows and doors and then blew insulation into the attic. He saw positive results and kept on going - new doors, new windows and new energy efficient appliances. He started drying his clothes on a rack he calls a “solar clothes dryer.”

This is not the futuristic, high-tech home of tomorrow I had expected to find.

Filed under: Jim Spellman • One Simple Thing
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