Times Square crowd welcomes 2019 with ‘unity and love’

Rain drops fell along with confetti as revelers rang in 2019 in New York’s Times Square, capping a soggy New Year’s celebration that included singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha’s stirring rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” just before midnight.

Crews used squeegees to sweep puddles from the performance stages, but Monday night’s wet weather was still evident as boy band New Kids On The Block splashed up puddles while performing their hit “Step by Step” on a giant set of steps.

At midnight, as fireworks erupted over Times Square, couples kissed, families hugged and “Auld Lang Syne” played over loud speakers.“It was like a true state of pure bliss and unity and love, and it felt like there was no hate in the world,” said Brie Dunn, 22, of New York. “That’s what I hope for in 2019 and all the years to come.”

“It was surreal I never thought that I’d get to experience this firsthand,” her mother, Suzanne, said.The Times Square party is always a marathon, with often cold temperatures, tight security rules, hours-long waits and a lack of public toilets.

Veterans of the celebration said the rain wasn’t all that bad, considering last year was one of the coldest on record at 10 degrees Fahrenheit. This year, the temperature was about 47 degrees as midnight struck.

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