Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Pop stars Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber may help draw more than 1 million revelers to Times Square tomorrow as New York City rings in the New Year with the ceremonial dropping of a 12-foot, illuminated crystal ball.
Event planners at the Times Square Alliance say crowds may fill avenues north to Central Park and south to 38th Street. At midnight, Lady Gaga, at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s invitation, will press a button triggering the ball drop, the focus of New York City’s year-end ritual since 1904.
“The weather’s supposed to be great,” Bloomberg said today during his weekly appearance on WOR radio. “Lady Gaga is a great entertainer. I saw her perform once. She is a New York young lady.”
Lady Gaga, 25, who grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, graduated from the Convent of the Sacred Heart School on the Upper East Side and attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The mayor and the entertainer joined forces this year to help push for the New York state law legalizing gay marriage.
Lady Gaga and Bieber, both of whom will perform live on ABC Television, may combine to attract one of the youngest New Year’s Eve crowds ever, said Gia Storms, a spokeswoman for the Times Square Alliance.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the department will deploy “a counterterrorism overlay” with sharpshooters on rooftops, surveillance cameras and thousands of officers, including 1,500 academy graduates on first assignment.
“This could be a record crowd; the weather’s going to be relatively pleasant for this time of year,” Kelly told reporters during a news conference in Manhattan. “We’ll have thousands of police officers there.”
The New York forecast calls for temperatures of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) at midnight tomorrow, according to weather.com, which says there’s no chance of rain.
Other scheduled events include fireworks displays after midnight runs in Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, and another pyrotechnic show off Liberty Island in New York Harbor.
Police boats will protect about 30 dinner cruises in the rivers around Manhattan, Kelly said, adding that law-enforcement agencies have received “no specific threats against the city,” which has been the target of 14 terrorist plots since the Sept. 11 attack that destroyed the World Trade Center in 2001.
Crowd control around Times Square will begin with checkpoints at 16 entrances from 38th Street to 58th Street between Sixth and Eighth Avenues, Kelly said.
Police will divide the crowd into pens demarcated by barricades. As in past years, anyone with alcohol or backpacks will be turned away, and revelers who leave their position won’t be readmitted, Kelly said.
Police deployments will be managed inside a Joint Operations Center staffed with representatives from federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies.
“It should be a pleasant time,” Kelly said.
The mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
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