New Year’s Eve in New York’s famed Times Square is, as usual, expected to draw a crowd of more than one million strong as people pile into the Big Apple from all over the world to watch the ceremonial ball drop, signaling the end of 2013 and the start of another 365-day trip around the sun.
But that million-plus crowd will be missing one rather important figure: New York’s mayor. This is the final year and, in fact, the final night of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 12 years in office as chief executive of the United States’ largest city. But it will be the first time since he has held office that Bloomberg is staying out of Times Square on New Year’s Eve, Fox News reports.
Bloomberg usually presses the ceremonial button that starts the countdown as the massive, nearly six-ton ball, bedazzled in more than 2,500 Waterford crystals, by a CBS News count, begins its 10-second descent — hitting bottom as the clock strikes midnight to ring out the old year and ring in the new.
Bloomberg has said that he plans to spend his final moments as mayor not mixing with Ryan Seacrest — host of the ball-dropping ceremony — and a million more of his closest friends, but instead with his family.
Incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio will be a little bit busy at the time the ball is dropping on New Year’s Eve. His swearing-in as the latest in New York City’s line of 109 mayors since the office was created by Dutch colonists in 1665, is scheduled for 12:01 am at de Blasio’s home in Brooklyn.
A public swearing-in for the new mayor takes place at City Hall at noon on New Year’s Day.
While controversial for his attempts to regulate personal behavior such as smoking and consumption of large, sugar-filled soft-drinks — as well as for his outspoken advocacy of gun control— Bloomberg’s mayoralty has been a financial boon to the city. According to a recent report cited by The Washington Post, Bloomberg, a multi-billionaire businessman, pumped about $650 million of his personal money into New York City operations.
On New Year’s Eve, that gravy train stops running. New Mayor de Blasio, 52, is a lifelong public servant and political activist who probably won’t be able to afford the luxury of taking just $1 per year in salary, as 71-year-old Bloomberg did.
Instead of Bloomberg, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a native of New York City, will do the honors of setting the ball on its downward journey into next year.