Fireworks explode around the London Eye wheel during New Year
World ushers in 2014 with fireworks, festivities
New York, January 1, 2014
From Sydney to Dubai, revelers welcomed 2014 with extravagant fireworks displays, while London celebrated by spraying clouds of fruit-flavored mist and San Francisco and Seattle planned large outdoor festivities.
At midnight in Sydney, Australia, a massive fireworks display lit up the sky around the city's famed Harbor Bridge and Opera House.
A dazzling pyrotechnics falcon flying around Palm Jumeirah in Dubai amidst a record fireworks show combined with London's clouds of fruit-flavoured mist were the main attractions of the New Year celebrations last night.
In Dubai, New Year's organizers broke the Guinness World Record for largest fireworks display.
The show lasted for six minutes, but it took only one minute for the 200 technicians to break the record held by Kuwait as more than 100,000 shots were fired in just 60 seconds as compared to Kuwait's record of 77,282.
Overall, 400,000 fireworks were set off across 400 locations that spanned an incredible 95km - with the show broadcast live on Dubai TV and YouTube to millions of spectators.
The performance required 100 computers to synchronise the pyrotechnics, along with a choreographed musical soundtrack.
The spectacle's grand finale created an artificial "sunrise" along the seafront, with the highest fireworks reaching more than 1km in height, said the organisers.
After Austrealia, the East Asian cities were next to ring in the new year, with Beijing, Jakarta and Singapore all hosting celebrations.
Moscow - in the same time zone as Dubai - also celebrated, albeit with intense security in Red Square following the suicide bombings in the southern Russian city of Volgograd.
In Hong Kong, tens of thousands of spectators watched the fireworks over Victoria Harbour.
The Chinese city of Wuhan earlier called off its display in order to avoid worsening the smog problem.
In Japan, Shinto priests gathered at shrines. Japanese people traditionally visit shrines and temples to pray for their families at this time.
In New York, hordes of people, many decked out in cartoonish hats, waving balloons and ringing bells, faced frigid temperatures and heightened security in Times Square for the annual New Year's Eve street party.
Crowds heard musical performances by Miley Cyrus and Melissa Etheridge, who performed the Beatles song "Imagine," and then saw the ritualistic dropping of the New Year's Eve ball, which was followed by music and a sea of confetti that filled Midtown Manhattan.
US Supreme Court Justice and New York native Sonia Sotomayor helped to usher in 2014 by pushing a button to signal the lowering of the 11,875-pound, crystal-encrusted ball and leading a 60-second countdown.
Other performers included hip-hop artists Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
In outer space, NASA astronauts prepared a message from crew members on board the International Space Station orbiting the globe, sending greetings to the Times Square crowd.
Across the northern United States, partygoers braced for snow and freezing temperatures, said Roger Edwards, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
"The biggest story is the extreme cold," Edwards said, pointing to lows that could reach 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius) on Tuesday night in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Parts of northern New England were to face temperatures near or below zero and snowfall was expected to fall across the broader Midwest, stretching from Iowa to Pennsylvania.
Chicago was offering free rides on trains and buses from 10pm to 4am to ensure revelers make it home safely.
Residents in Vincennes, Indiana, didn't let the cold air stop their fifth annual Watermelon Drop and Fireworks display in which 14 of the hefty fruits fell in a nod to the area's agricultural roots.
The event followed a performance by the melon-smashing comedian Gallagher, local media reported.
In Nashville, Tenn., revelers saw the "Music Note Drop" backed up by musical performances, including by Hank Williams Jr., and fireworks.
Not everyone took to the streets, however. President Barack Obama celebrated a low-key New Year's Eve with his family at vacation rental in Hawaii.
In San Francisco, one of the last major cities in the world to see the clock strike midnight, some 200,000 people were expected to gather on the waterfront for a fireworks display illuminating the city's world-famous Golden Gate Bridge.
In Seattle, big crowds were expected for a fireworks display launched from the Pacific Northwest city's iconic Space Needle.-Reuters