Hours before New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Rockettes help usher in the new year, Times Square was teeming with revelers wearing plastic "2013" glasses and snapping photos.
Organizers say an estimated million people are expected to cram the district to see the ball drop and countdown to 2013.
The ball is covered with 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles and illuminated by more than 32,000 colored LEDs.
It's the first New Year's Eve without longtime host Dick Clark, who died in April. His name is engraved into a panel of the crystal ball.
Security is tight. Along with an army of uniformed and plainclothes officers, police will inspect vehicles, enforce a ban on alcohol and check handbags.
Police stressed there are no specific terrorism threats related to the celebration.