Revelers usher in 2014 with fireworks and fruit mist

Wed Jan 1, 2014 9:34am EST
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By Victoria Cavaliere and Eric M. Johnson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - From Sydney to London to San Francisco, revelers welcomed 2014 with extravagant fireworks displays, giant street parties and, in a new departure, fruit-flavored mist.

In New York, hordes of people, many decked out in cartoonish hats, waving balloons or ringing bells, shrugged off freezing temperatures and heightened security in Times Square for the annual New Year's Eve street party.

Crowds heard musical performances by Miley Cyrus and Melissa Etheridge, who sang John Lennon's "Imagine," and then saw the ritual dropping of the New Year's Eve ball.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice and New York native Sonia Sotomayor helped to usher in 2014 by pushing a button to signal the lowering of the 11,875-pound, crystal-encrusted ball and leading a 60-second countdown.

The stroke of midnight triggered a deluge of confetti and music in Midtown Manhattan.

"We've been living on granola bars and little bottles of water because if you move, you lose your spot," said Sheila Harshbarger, who traveled to New York from Indiana with her daughter and staked out ground next to a row of police barricades in the freezing cold more than 14 hours before midnight.

Crew members on board the International Space Station orbiting the globe sent greetings to the Times Square crowd.

The celebrations were not without violence, however.   Continued...

Fireworks explode past the Times Square Ball after it dropped to signal the start of the new year in Times Square, Midtown, New York January 1, 2014. REUTERS/Adrees Latif