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.
[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."]
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.
Editor's note: Tune in to CNN beginning at 10pm ET on New Year's Eve for the Anderson Cooper 360° special "New Year's Eve Live."
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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