EXPLODING FIREWORKS SPRAYED from the sails of the Sydney Opera House and the Australian city’s harbour bridge at midnight as the world ushered in a new year.
More than 1 million people crammed the Sydney Harbour foreshore on a warm summer night to watch the pyrotechnics show that appeared to live up to its billing as the most extravagant of Sydney’s already renowned annual display.
Pic: AP Photo/Rob Griffith
Closer to the edge of the International Dateline, New Zealand bid farewell to 2013 with fireworks erupting from Auckland’s Sky Tower as cheering revelers danced in the streets of the South Pacific island nation’s largest city.
Dubai is known for glitz, glamour and over-the-top achievements like the world’s tallest tower, and this year it plans to break another record by creating the largest fireworks show ever.
Organisers plan to light up the city’s coastline with a flying falcon made out of fireworks that moves across a massive man-made palm-shaped island alongside a countdown in fireworks.
Guinness World Record officials will be on hand to measure the scale of the event.
Sydney Opera House
In Australia, fireworks launched from four sails of the Sydney Opera House for the first time in more than a decade. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was also illuminated by fireworks shooting skyward and raining from its decks to the water below.
Organisers had expected 1.6 million people would line the harbour shores to watch 7 tons of pyrotechnics explode in 12 seconds.
People gather at the Zojoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo to celebrate the New Year. Pic: AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
In Tokyo, five priests at the Zojoji temple used ropes to swing a wooden pole against a large bell, sounding the first of 108 gongs to mark the new year. Simultaneously, “2014″ lit up in white lights on the modern Tokyo Tower in the background.
China planned light shows at part of the Great Wall near Beijing and at the Bund waterfront in Shanghai. The city of Wuhan in central Hubei province called off its fireworks show and banned fireworks downtown to avoid worsening its smoggy air.
In the Philippines, more than 260 people had been injured by firecracker blasts and celebratory gunfire ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Fireworks explode over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia. Pic: AP Photo/Rob Griffith
In North Korea, a group of tourists, including Americans, planned to watch fireworks in Kim Il Sung Square and watch the Pyongyang Bell strike midnight, said Andrea Lee, CEO of Uritours.
In Hong Kong, tens of thousands of people turned out to watch the fireworks display over the southern Chinese city’s famed Victoria Harbor.
Pyrotechnics were fired near the Kowloon peninsula and from the tops of seven skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island.
In Indonesia, New Year’s celebrations are widespread except in the city of Banda Aceh where Islamic clerics prohibit Muslims from celebrating New Year’s Eve.
In the capital, Jakarta, tourism authorities estimate 2 million people will take part in street parties in 162 locations.
In New York City, outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg is sitting out this year’s festivities to spend time with family and friends. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will be sworn into office at 12:01 am on Wednesday at his Brooklyn home.
Sotomayor, a New York City native, will lead the final 60-second countdown and push the ceremonial button to signal the descent of the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball in front of an estimated 1 million celebrants.