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Hundreds of thousands fill Times Square for New Year's Eve 2024 celebration

Revelers from around the world gather in Times Square for New Year's Eve
Revelers from around the world gather in Times Square for New Year's Eve 03:23

NEW YORK -- Crowds gathered and grew in Times Square all day Sunday as people waited in place for hours to ensure they had a good view of the iconic New Year's Eve ball drop.

At the Crossroads of the World, people from all over the world came together to reflect on the past year and look ahead to a new one.

The Modaff family, visiting from Chicago, was experiencing Times Square New Year's Eve for the first time.

"Like no other experience out there. This has been amazing all day," Jen Modaff said.

"Being together with family on a holiday is a big deal, and we're glad we're all together," Jeff Modaff said.

Togetherness was a central theme. Many, like New Jersey resident Warren Garcia, are ringing in the new year with new friends.

"We're gonna stay here for 13 hours, so why not make friends?" he said.

Securing a spot close to the action meant getting there in the morning, but Garcia came prepared.

"I'll be honest with you, we're wearing diapers, but they're still dry, don't worry," he said.

Crowds growing in Times Square ahead of New Year's Eve ball drop 03:34

The Schirmers didn't drink any water during the day Sunday. That's how they planned to make it hours in Times Square after securing a spot earlier in the morning.

"My New Year's resolution is to drink more water this next year. I gotta get my water intake up," Milwaukee resident Matt Schirmer said.

"But you're not helping with that today," CBS New York's Jenna DeAngelis said.

"Not helping with that today," Schirmer said. "We like to do fun things every New Year's. We've been to New Orleans. We've been to Nashville. We've never been to New York before, the city, so it's cool to experience this whole thing. We've seen it on TV before."

The Schirmers will be ringing in the new year with a new friend, Mike Galarowic, from Michigan, who's experienced this at least seven times.

"I've been to ... Scotland. I've been in Austria. I've been in Estonia last year. I always come back to Times Square for New Year's. This is truly the center of the Earth tonight," he said.

CBS New York's Lonnie Quinn joins revelers in Times Square for New Year's Eve 02:23

"It's pretty fun. I'm not gonna lie, it's a lot of planning ahead, though," a man named Max said.

Max and Ashleigh Christman, from Albany, had even more to celebrate.

"We have the same birthday on New Year's," she said.

It was their first time in Times Square for the ball drop.

First, they had to get through security. Hundreds of officers in uniform and undercover have been deployed, along with K-9s and special technology.

For the first time, the NYPD is using tethered drone trucks for New Year's eve. They're strategically placed for extra eyes over the massive crowd.

"We're looking for any type of anomalies, anybody having any medical episodes. We're looking for if the pens are overcrowded," NYPD Assistant Commissioner Kaz Daughtry said.

"There's a lot of stuff you won't be seeing, and that's all of the intel resources we put in to making sure were identifying any leads and mitigating any threats," said Rebecca Winer, NYPD deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism.

The NYPD says it's ready to respond to any protests.

Cynthia Ross, from Indiana, says she's been here before but wanted to share the experience with her husband.

"He likes to watch on TV, but I said we've gotta do it one time in person, so here we are," she said.

"It's amazing. It's one of the best life experiences," Rich Ross said.

The focus for many revelers is celebrating what's ahead.

"Getting all excited and pumped up waiting for the time to come," said a tourist from Pennsylvania.

"I just want to wish everyone a great new year, and I wish peace for the world," Garcia said.

"Health, happiness and people to share kindness around the world," Jeff Modaff said.

Special guests took part in hourly countdowns throughout the night and performers put on quite the show to close out 2023.

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