NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Thursday, December 31, 2015, 10:24 PM
The recipe for a one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve party: One million delirious revelers, 2,000 pounds of falling confetti, one glittering Waterford crystal ball — and 6,000 police officers.
The annual Times Square celebration of the coming year kicked off Thursday with the massive crowd expected to greet 2016 under mild weather conditions — with temperatures in the mid-30s and no threat of rain — and some serious safety precautions.
Partygoers hailing from around the world began arriving at the Crossroads of the World before dawn, awaiting the excitement of ringing in the new year in the Big Apple.
“I came for the experience, you know? No one can take this away from us,” said 21-year-old Taylor Dodson, from Baltimore.
Crowd of people waiting long hours at Times Square to celebrate the New Year.
The celebrations were set to unwind under particularly intense security, with more than 6,000 uniformed officers on patrol in Midtown, along with 500 members of the NYPD’s new anti-terror force — some in civilian clothes, many heavily armed — as well as rigid security screenings.
An estimated 1 million people were expected at the celebration.
“This is the iconic New Year’s celebration for the world,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said. “We have no threats we’re aware of directed against this event tonight, but nevertheless we still plan for the worst and then expect the best.”
Police brass said in advance of the nationally televised street party that there was no credible threat of potential terrorism prior to the event.
But bomb-sniffing dogs and radiation detectors were be on site as a precaution. Backpacks and liquor were banned from the blowout.
Some in the crowd admitted to being nervous about gathering in such a famous location in the weeks after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif.
Just hours earlier Thursday, an ex-con was charged in upstate New York with planning to carry out a New Year’s Eve attack at a bar to prove he was worthy of joining the ISIS.
In Paris, the city recovering from its own deadly attack enjoyed scaled-back celebrations. .
Ashley Watters, 18, from Gettysburg, Pa., called the threat of terrorism “the elephant in the room.”
“I talked to my dad before I left and said ‘I love you and hopefully ISIS doesn’t come,”’ Watters said.
Others were heartened by the security presence, which led Mayor de Blasio — who pushed the button to send the ball on its minute-long descent at 11:59 p.m. — and his police team to declare the city “the safest place in the world” on New Year’s Eve.
The Times Square ball was brighter than ever after the addition of 288 new crystal panels.
The first New Year’s Eve ball, fashioned from iron, wood and 100 25-watt light bulbs, was dropped in 1907.
Musical performers for the New Year’s party included Carrie Underwood, Wiz Khalifa and Jesse J.
“We came here just to watch the ball drop,” said an ecstatic Ajah Moore, 35, who cuddled up next to her husband, Dion Moore. “We’ve always wanted to do this.”
With News Wire Services
With Anthony Izaguirre