2016 New Year’s Eve on the Ground from Times Square

New Year's Eve in Times Square and throughout New York is protected like a war zone these days, but the city's people and police do their best to keep the party going.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

The main photo you see above is not an accident. It’s a deliberate representation of New Year’s Eve in New York City. Such a shot is supposed to offer the main view of a story’s subject matter. I chose the blue and red light-marked blur because a picture of a New York Police Department squad car might not seem as visually striking. 

Known around the world for America’s New Year’s Eve epicenter, the night of December 31st in New York is now a logistical nightmare — restricted and locked down under constant reminder that there are thousands of people out there who would like to destroy the celebration and kill everyone in attendance because of the simple fact that we enjoy celebrating with each other.

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A visitor to Manhattan on such a night is met with police on every corner, barricades and constant reminders that what once was just a hell of a big party is now an event that must be managed and survived because it’s now one hell of a target. Happy people from all religions, backgrounds and walks of life come together to welcome a new year rife with promise and opportunity. So, unhappy people who insist everyone have only one walk of life or die would love nothing better than to descend on that welcoming atmosphere and extinguish any opportunity with the promise of bloodshed.

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So, New York police and federal authorities watch over the celebration with suspicion and weaponry. But, the NYPD runs the show with patience, class and understanding. After interacting with the local constabulary all night, I had sense that each and every person wearing the badge would wish for a night free of paranoia and destruction. They do what they do how they do it because it must be done.

Be very clear: If the 21st century “ball drop” and 1 million visitor strong New Year’s Eve gathering is now diminished in spirit, it’s never the doing of the NYPD. The blame for this shadow of what once a free-wheeling good time in America’s first city is completely dropped on the doorstep of the bitter, the pitiful and the prejudiced in this world who kill anyone unlike them. Here’s hoping there’s fewer of those lost souls on the planet as 2016 continues.

So, in a militarized zone surrounded by police, heavily armed personnel carriers, garbage cans or mailboxes bolted shut (because they can hide bombs), armored trucks, portable metal detectors and  tense crowds looking up at police helicopters all night, I send you a hearty “Happy New Year, 2016.”