NEW YORK — A world-wide wave of celebrations rang in 2014 with a dazzling 30-minute fireworks show in Dubai, a deluge of confetti in London that tasted as good as it looked and a lavish, boozy, music-filled party throughout the streets of Las Vegas.
In freezing New York City's Times Square, a sea of horn-tooting, hat-wearing revelers cheered and some smooched as the famed crystal ball dropped at midnight.
Bronx-born U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor led the 60-second countdown and pushed the button that unleashed the shimmering orb with 2,688 crystals, a role usually filled by the New York City mayor.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on his last day in office, sat out the celebration after 12 years on the job, while newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio took the oath of office just after midnight at his Brooklyn home.
Kerrie McConaghy, 20, a university student visiting Times Square from Armagh, Ireland, was dancing and jumping up and down, donning a big blue top hat.
"It's unbelievable here," she said. "The lights, seeing the ball, hearing the music, all the people. It's amazing."
"TV doesn't do this justice," she said. "You have to be here to believe it."
Marcus Ix, 34, visiting from Germany, gave his wife, Sabrina, a big kiss when the ball dropped and confetti rained down.
"This is the best New Year's Eve of my life," he said as the crowd erupted with cheers and cries of "Happy New Year!" ''It was worth the 13 hour wait in the cold."
The annual New York celebration, which this year featured performances from artists such as Miley Cyrus, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Blondie, has become part endurance sport because post-9/11 security measures force spectators into pens at least 12 hours in advance, with no food, warmth or bathrooms.