Hundreds of thousands of revelers crowded into New York City's Times Square to watch the crystal-covered ball make its annual descent, ringing in the start of 2013.
The festivities joined a slew of others around the globe, from fireworks in Sydney and Hong Kong to the first public countdown in years in Myanmar.
New York City's countdown was the first in decades without television host Dick Clark, who died in April. One of the crystal panels on the ball was engraved with his name.
Yvonne Gomez, a 53-year-old physician from Grand Forks, N.D., beamed with pleasure as the ball descended.
"I couldn't begin the new year in a more beautiful way," she said pointing to her husband, Greg Halverson, a 63-year-old potato farmer. "I married him two weeks ago and here we are in the middle of Times Square celebrating the new year."
Hours before Mayor Bloomberg and the Rockettes ushered in the new year, Times Square was teeming with revelers wearing plastic "2013" glasses and snapping photos.
Among the early celebrants were Kevin and Laura Concannon of Hingham, Mass., and his parents, Jim and Ellen Concannon of Boston. They were in town to attend a wedding in New Jersey but came to Times Square to try to see the New Year's Eve ball, take photos and perhaps make a few wishes for a better 2013, for themselves and the nation.
"It's been an OK year for us but, obviously, with all the sadness in the country, we're looking for some good changes in 2013," Laura Concannon said.
The crystal ball was covered with 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles and illuminated by more than 32,000 LEDs in red, blue, green and white.
Square-inch pieces of paper with tributes to Clark are part of the confetti that showered Times Square as the clock struck midnight.