Cities around the world prepare to celebrate the new year


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    Revelers celebrate the new year in Times Square in New York City.

    - Joe Corrigan/Getty Images

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    Fireworks light up Sydney Harbour with an early warm up session in preparation for its New Year's Eve celebration.

    - Jeremy Ng/Getty Images

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    Indian artist Harwinder Singh Gill displays coloring pencils carved with new year greetings on New Year's Eve 2010 in Amritsar, India.

    - Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images

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    In Mumbai, India, police warned residents to be vigilant after a militant outfit threatened a "violent attack" during the city's New Year's Eve festivities.

    - Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images

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    In the tropical island city of Colombo, Sri Lanka, a boy sells fire crackers ahead of New Year's eve. Residents now safely celebrate the new year since last year's end to the 37-year ethnic conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels.

    - Lakruwan Wanniarachchi /AFP/Getty Images

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    Models hold inflatable numbers as they pose for photos during a New Year party in Hong Kong.

    - Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

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    A woman watches others pose for photos against a 2011 themed backdrop during a New Year party in Hong Kong.

    - Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

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    A Lebanese street vendor, dressed as Santa Claus, sells New Year's party accessories on the sidewalk of a main street in the Lebanese capital Beirut.

    - Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

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    Members of the indigenous Nepalese Gurung community celebrates the New Year with traditional music and attire at a ceremony in Kathmandu.

    - Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

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    A Nepalese indigenous Gurung community member in traditional attire takes part in a New Years celebration ceremony in Kathmandu.

    - Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

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    Fireworks explode above the Sydney Opera House during the preliminary 9pm session as Sydney celebrates New Year's Eve on December 31, 2010 in Sydney, Australia.

    - Jeremy Ng/Getty Images

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    Fireworks go off at the strike of midnight in Times Square January 01, 2011 in New York City. This year a 11,875-pound Waterford crystal ball descended a 141-foot tall flagpole to mark the beginning of 2011.

    - Brian Harkin/Getty Images

Indian artist Harwinder Singh Gill displays coloring pencils carved with new year greetings on New Year's Eve 2010 in Amritsar, India.

Fireworks light up Sydney Harbour with an early warm up session in preparation for its New Year's Eve celebration.

In the tropical island city of Colombo, Sri Lanka, a boy sells fire crackers ahead of New Year's eve. Residents now safely celebrate the new year since last year's end to the 37-year ethnic conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels.

Models hold inflatable numbers as they pose for photos during a New Year party in Hong Kong.

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: Residents of Kiribati, a small island in the Pacific Ocean, were some of the first people to ring in 2011. But as many countries face a New Year of tough financial decisions and government cuts, how much are cities spending on their celebrations?

From London, the BBC's Kate McGough goes around the world for us.


KATE MCGOUGH: Despite Australia's worst flooding in decades, the country spent $5 million on New Year's celebrations -- the highest level of New Years spending down under in more than a decade. The spending included a fireworks waterfall from the Sydney Harbor Bridge. One and a half million people crowded around Sydney's picturesque harbor and famous Opera house. Many camped in parks overnight for the best view -- like this man:

CELEBRATOR: I've been here since three o'clock yesterday afternoon. It's pretty long but it's definitely worth it. Best spot in Sydney I reckon.

In London, while organizers expect a quarter million people will line the River Thames, but 2011 is set to be a year of cuts in British government spending, reflected in the low-key nature of the New Years Eve celebrations. The whole event will cost $3 million and like last year, Londoners have to make do with eight minutes of fireworks, down from the usual ten.

The cost of the revelry in Vietnam may well increase by the most of any country -- for the simple reason that this is the first year that the Vietnamese are celebrating New Years on January first. Vietnam typically saves their biggest celebrations for the lunar new year that begins in February, but this year Hanoi is going all out for the countdown -- with a light show and DJs playing music to the crowds.

From London, I'm the BBC's Kate McGough, for Marketplace

Indian artist Harwinder Singh Gill displays coloring pencils carved with new year greetings on New Year's Eve 2010 in Amritsar, India.

Fireworks light up Sydney Harbour with an early warm up session in preparation for its New Year's Eve celebration.

In the tropical island city of Colombo, Sri Lanka, a boy sells fire crackers ahead of New Year's eve. Residents now safely celebrate the new year since last year's end to the 37-year ethnic conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels.

Models hold inflatable numbers as they pose for photos during a New Year party in Hong Kong.

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