NEW YORK – More than a million revelers in Times Square greeted 2007 with cheers, kisses and a whopping 3.5 tons of confetti at the city's massive New Year's Eve party.
The famously flashy New Year's Eve ball dropped down a flagpole to a countdown chorus led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. servicemen and women. Longtime host Dick Clark ticked off the final 10 seconds from a television studio.
"It's been another New Year's we'll never forget," he said afterward.
As the ball dropped, Amanda Bermudez, 19, kissed her new husband, Angel Bermudez, 21, an Army soldier who recently returned from Iraq. They were married Dec. 2 at their home in Fort Hood, Texas, and came to New York for their honeymoon.
"My New Year's resolution is to work on my marriage and be a good mother," said Amanda Bermudez, who just found out she's pregnant.
She also hoped for peace in the Middle East in 2007.
"So he doesn't have to go back," she said, glancing lovingly at her husband.
Partygoers from all over the world poured into the area hours before the clock struck 12 to snag prime viewing spots. The happy crowd cheered and laughed, apparently unfazed by hours of standing and waiting without much water or food — or bathrooms.
Greg First and his 14-year-old daughter, Erika, traveled to the event from Lavonia, Mich., outside Detroit.
"I've watched this for 40 years on TV, no joke," said First, 43. "I wanted to be here just once."
The two had waited since 10 a.m. and brought apples and nuts so they wouldn't have to move, because if spectators left, they had no chance of getting back to the front-row spots.
Jurie Smith and his family traveled from Johannesburg, South Africa, for the event. They waited nearly 12 hours to see the ball drop.
"This is the best place in the world to ring in the new year," he said. "The spirit of the place is amazing. I feel so alive being here."
Police were providing security for a crowd police estimated at more than 1 million people, according to WABC-TV, and officials said everything went according to plan. Spectators passed through police checkpoints, no big bags or backpacks were permitted and bomb-sniffing dogs roamed the crowd.
Public drinking was banned, and visitors were being herded into a series of viewing pens that prevented them from bar hopping.
A lack of alcohol didn't bother Lena Zellers, 22, of Pittsburgh, who was attending the event for the first time with friends from New Jersey. She wore a "Happy New Year" tiara and "2007" sunglasses.
"I came here to be here, not to be in a bar down the street," she said. "You can drink anytime."
Police corralled spectators for several blocks up Broadway almost to Central Park. The lucky ones were penned in around three performance stages set up for the show. More than a dozen major acts performed during the six-hour bash, including pop singer Christina Aguilera, country band Rascal Flatts and the cast of the Broadway musical "Jersey Boys."
The Texas band Radiant kicked off the event at about 6 p.m. Cheerleaders from a Long Island high school performed and organizers doled out red "2007" top hats, noisemakers and bright blue pompoms to those standing nearest the stages.
"This is the center of the universe," said Raffael Dalvise, who lives outside Venice, Italy, and traveled to the city for the holiday. "There is no other place to be."
Clark was back for ABC's "New Year's Rockin' Eve" broadcast for the second time since a stroke caused him to skip a broadcast in 2004. He co-hosted the event with Ryan Seacrest.
"It's still the biggest party in the world, and I can't wait to bring it to you," a raspy but healthy-looking Clark said about 20 minutes before the countdown.
Warm winter temperatures in the low 40s brought out droves of tourists, but New Yorkers came out for the event, too. Eskie Garcia, of Queens, has attended the show for the past seven years.
"It's great," she said, standing next to families from Germany, South Africa and California. "You meet all sorts of people, and you take in the joy and happiness of the season. I just love it."