Live

Watch CBSN Live

NYC Top Cop: City Safe for New Year's

Despite a brief scare caused by a suspicious van Wednesday, New York's top cop said Times Square will be "the safest area" in the city for New Year's Eve revelers.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told CBS' "The Early Show" Thursday that he wished authorities would have found the van sooner. "It was a concern," Kelly said. "It's something that I wish it didn't happen."

It was a potential holiday horror that, thankfully, turned out to be a bust. Still, the van prompted a nerve wracking response - for police and the public, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

Kelly said Times Square will be teeming with police both in uniform and undercover, along with bomb-sniffing dogs. He added that while there is heightened awareness since a Christmas Day attempt to blow up a U.S. plane, the police's vigilance for potential terrorist plots is always "robust."

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to huddle together in Times Square in near freezing temperatures to welcome in the new year.

Among those scheduled to entertain them are Jennifer Lopez, the cast of the Broadway musical "Hair" and Daughtry.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and 12 city high school students are in charge of pushing the button to lower the big Waterford Crystal ball. Then confetti will rain down to mark the start of 2010.

The first-ever Times Square celebration was held in 1904 to commemorate the official opening of the new headquarters of The New York Times.