Every year, sanitation workers in New York City clean up Times Square effortlessly after almost 1 million revelers pack the area to watch the ball drop and ring in the New Year.
Continuing with the tradition of gathering at Times Square, revelers covered in hats, gloves, face masks and numerous layers of clothing, danced, hugged and kissed as the ball dropped to welcome 2018.
After all the celebrations are done and when everyone leaves, the city’s sanitation workers embark on their long night of labor.
As soon as the clock struck 12, almost 3,000 pounds of confetti rained down over Times Square. Even though this was a beautiful experience for the crowd gathered to celebrate, the aftermath of the celebration is a downright mess.
An army of sanitation workers work tirelessly to bring the city back to normal. They have to clean up staggering detritus, including streamers and party hats, cigarette butts, food containers and other trash littering the ground — which is obviously not pretty.
This happens every year.
Nevertheless, they give all it takes to fulfill a seemingly impossible task: making sure every piece of the garbage disappeared by daybreak.
Planning for this exceptional cleanup effort starts months in advance.
The city’s Department of Sanitation estimated last week it would clear more than 50 tons of trash at Times Square. The department said a total of 294 sanitation workers were on duty to clean up in the aftermath of the party, armed with 30 mechanical brooms, 58 backpack blowers, 44 collection trucks and 58 old-fashioned hand brooms.
Shortly after the ball drops in Times Square, 294 NYC Dept. of Sanitation employees will start working to clean tons of confetti and other New Year's debris left behind. In just a few hours, the Crossroads of the World will be clean!— NYC Sanitation (@NYCSanitation) December 31, 2017
We wish everyone a happy and healthy 2018! pic.twitter.com/Tqwa2wLnuH
The crew assembles at Times Square to move in and start with their cleaning duty even before the New Year ball drops.
According to Paul Visconti, the New York City Department of Sanitation Chief, the cleanup effort would likely take about 12 to 16 hours to complete.
“You will see a night and day difference in eight hours,” he said. “It’s something short of a miracle what we get accomplished, It’s rewarding to see 50 tons of debris disappear. It’s not easy, but we make it look easy.”
It takes hours and hours of manpower and crews, working with machines and manually, to clean up all the traces of the tons of confetti and other things littering Times Square.
The freezing weather was another challenge for the army of workers this year.
“We get gusts of wind that blow residual confetti from the roof so we have to constantly keep recapping the area,” said Sanitation Deputy Chief Jeff Pitts.
Want to know what it takes to clean up Times Square after the ball drops? Take a look! https://t.co/tlCnSMvtWv— NYC Sanitation (@NYCSanitation) December 28, 2017
What these sanitation workers do is truly commendable and we can’t thank them enough.
Several people expressed gratitude to the crew that cleans up all the mess at Times Square.
GOD BLESS the people that have to clean up Times Square when the show's over. You the real MVPs!! ??????— Laura Stewart (@lstewy) January 1, 2018
Shout out to all the clean up crew members down in Times Square cleaning up that confetti mess.— Amanda Brazzell (@ahero_) January 1, 2018
Every year while watching the ball drop on TV, I always end up feeling bad for those who have to clean up all that confetti in Times Square. pic.twitter.com/M9M7mgBOMB— Patrick Knight (@patknightradio) January 1, 2018
also also also imagine having to clean up times square after this crap— Mike Beasley (@MikeBeas) January 1, 2018
True heros— #HANDMADE #SOAP (@handmade_soap) January 1, 2018
A big shout out to @NYCSanitation and to the Times Square Alliance Sanitation team for cleaning up #TimesSquare after the #BallDrop! 50 tons of confetti & debris were removed! @TimesSquareNYC pic.twitter.com/TRFCkvNBro— NYPDTimesSquare (@NYPDTimesSquare) January 1, 2018
Despite the monumental task, Visconti said being in Times Square for the New Year is amazing.
“Watching Times Square on New Year’s on TV is incomparable to actually being there,” said Visconti. “There’s just electricity in the air.”
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Amr Alfiky