NEW YORK — Crowds jammed New York's Times Square on Tuesday to ring in 2014, braving bone-chilling cold and ultra-tight security for the chance to see Miley Cyrus, a final countdown from a U.S. Supreme Court justice and the drop of the shimmering crystal ball.

The sea of horn-tooting, hat-wearing humanity that filled the Crossroads of the World was part celebration, part endurance sport because post-9-11 security measures force spectators into pens at least 12 hours in advance, with no food, no warmth and no place to go to the bathroom.

"We've got adult diapers. We're wearing them right now,'' said 14-year-old Amber Woods, who came with friends from the New York City's suburbs to experience the event for the first time. They entered their corral at 10 a.m. For nourishment, they brought lollipops and popcorn. For the cold, they did a lot of jumping in place.

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  • Sydney, Australia

    New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge (R) and the Opera House (L) on Jan. 1, 2014.

  • Sydney, Australia

    Thousands of people watch as New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge on Jan. 1, 2014.

  • Sydney, Australia

    New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge on Jan. 1, 2014.

  • Sydney, Australia

    Fireworks explode over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia on Jan. 1, 2014.

  • Sydney, Australia

    New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge on Jan. 1, 2014.

  • Melbourne, Australia

    Fireworks over The Melbourne Cricket Ground and Yarra River during New Years Eve fireworks on Dec. 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.

  • Melbourne, Australia

    New Year's Eve revelers party in Federation Square during New Years Eve on Dec. 31. in Melbourne, Australia.

  • Queenstown, New Zealand

    Fireworks explode over the heads of tourists and locals as the clock hits midnight to celebrate the New Year on the waterfront in the New Zealand town of Queenstown early on Jan. 1, 2014.

  • Singapore

    A balloon floats amidst fireworks exploding over the financial district at midnight on Jan. 1, 2014 in Singapore.

  • Singapore

    Fireworks explode over the financial district at midnight on Jan. 1, 2014 in Singapore.

  • Manila, Philippines

    Fireworks light up the sky as Filipinos welcome the New Year on Jan. 1, 2014, in Manila, Philippines.

  • Hong Kong

    Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor during New Year's Eve to celebrate the start of 2014 in Hong Kong on Jan. 1, 2014.

  • Hong Kong

    Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor during New Year's Eve to celebrate the start of 2014 in Hong Kong on Jan. 1, 2014.

  • Hong Kong

    Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor during New Year's celebrations in Hong Kong on Jan. 1, 2014

  • Seoul, South Korea

    A Buddhist woman attaches her name card on a lantern ahead of the new year at Chogye Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013.

  • Seoul, South Korea

    Buddhists attend New Year's Eve celebrations at the Bongeun Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea on Jan. 1, 2014.

  • Pyongyang, North Korea

    Fireworks explode over Juche Tower and the Taedong River in Pyongyang, North Korea to celebrate the New Year on Jan 1, 2014.

  • Pyongyang, North Korea

    Fireworks explode over Juche Tower and the Taedong River in Pyongyang, North Korea to celebrate the New Year on Jan 1, 2014.

  • Beijing, China

    Laser lights shoot from a tower during a New Year's Eve count down to 2014 held at the Great Wall of China in Beijing, China on Dec. 31, 2013.

  • Beijing, China

    Performers gather for a group photo after the end of a New Year's Eve count down to 2014 in Beijing, China on Jan. 1, 2014.

  • Taipei, Taiwan

    A fireworks display is set off from the Taipei101 skyscraper during New Year's Eve celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan on Dec. 31, 2013.

  • Bangkok, Thailand

    The first-ever Bangkok Ball Drop at Lebua -- the world's highest New Year's Eve ball drop - on Jan. 1, 2014, Thailand.

  • Bali island, Indonesia

    Balinese girls in traditional costumes gather during a parade for this year's last sundown in Bali island, Indonesia on New Year's Eve on Dec. 31, 2013.

  • Jakarta, Indonesia

    Fireworks light up the sky as thousands of people gather to watch, in the main business district on New Year's Eve in Jakarta, Indonesia on Dec. 31, 2013.

  • Puri, India

    People walk on a beach as the sun sets on New Year’s Eve over the Bay of Bengal in Puri, India, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013.

  • Mumbai, India

    A man runs as firecrackers burst around him, on the street during the New Year celebrations in Mumbai, India on Jan 1, 2014.

  • Amritsar, India

    An Indian reveller poses on New Year's Eve in Amritsar on December 31, 2013.

  • Key West, Fla., U.S.

    Evalena Worthington, in a pirate wench costume, practices her New Year's Eve descent from the top of a sailing ship's mast at the Schooner Wharf Bar in Key West, Fla. As midnight approaches on Dec. 31, Worthington is to be lowered as a facet of one of four unique "drops" in Key West to mark the beginning of 2014.

  • Berlin, Germany

    Fireworks light the sky above the Quadriga at the Brandenburg Gate shortly after midnight in Berlin, Germany on Jan. 1. Hundred thousands of people celebrated New Year's Eve welcoming the new year 2014 in Germany's capital.

  • Moscow, Russia

    People celebrate the New Year at the Red Square during of the New Year festivities, in Moscow, Russia on Jan. 1, 2014, with St. Basil Cathedral is in the background.

  • Moscow, Russia

    A woman launches a sky lantern during celebration for the New Year at the Red Square, in Moscow, Russia on Jan. 1, 2014, with St. Basil Cathedral, centre right, and Kremlin's Spasskaya (Savior) Tower, left, are in the background.

  • Edinburgh, Scotland

    People ride a Ferris wheel as fireworks illuminate the sky over Edinburgh, Scotland, during late New Year's eve celebrations on Dec. 31. The celebrations this year are combined with marking the upcoming 2014 Commonwealth games.

  • London, England

    Fireworks explode over the Houses of Parliament, including Queen Elizabeth II tower which holds the bell known as Big Ben as London celebrates the arrival of New Year's Day on Jan. 1, 2014. The annual firework display is the culmination of the New Year's Eve celebrations.

  • Le Cap d'Agde, France

    People take part in a traditional sea bathing to mark new-year's end on Dec. 31, 2013 on a nudist beach in Le Cap d'Agde, southern France.

  • New York City, U.S.

    Veronica Boshen and Brittany Wells, of Allentown, Pa., pose for a photo with their 2014 glasses while waiting for the celebration to begin in Times Square on New Year's Eve on Dec. 31 in New York.

"Every time I say, it's the last. But then I come back,'' said Yasmina Merrir, a 42-year-old Washington, D.C., resident attending her fourth Times Square ball drop. In 2009, the cold was so bad, she got hypothermia. Her legs swelled up like balloons.

She was also fasting and not drinking anything to deal with the lack of restrooms. As for the cold, she recommends vigorous dancing for as long as you can stand on your feet.

"At a point,'' she said, "your brain is not working anymore.''

New York's midnight celebration came as millions welcomed the new year in cities around the world, including jubilant events in London, where the fireworks came packed with edible confetti, and Dubai, which attempted to stage the world's largest fireworks display.

Brianna Becerril, a 21-year-old singer and songwriter from Chino, Calif., persuaded her grandparents to join her at Times Square. As evening fell, they huddled together for warmth under big, furry hats, dined on cold chicken nuggets and drank nothing so they wouldn't have to leave to find a toilet.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience!'' Becerril said.

"Once in a lifetime for me, for sure. I mean, if I even survive. I can't wait to get out of here,'' said her smiling grandfather, Jerry Bender. But, he said, he was enjoying getting to know their neighbours in the pen, many of whom hailed from distant countries.

Even when she lived in Algeria in North Africa, Merrir said, she knew that Times Square was the place the world celebrated best on New Year's Eve.

"It's Times Square! It's the ball!'' she said. "The fireworks may be better in Dubai, or in London, but this is extra special.''

On the other side of the Atlantic, Britain welcomed 2014 with a mixture of futuristic fireworks and torch-lit tradition. For those in London, the event offered the opportunity to taste the fireworks.

The city's mayor, in conjunction with telecommunications company Vodafone, said this year's explosive display came packed with peach-flavoured snow, edible banana confetti and orange-scented bubbles. The evening also included scratch-and-sniff programs, LED wristbands and fruit-flavoured sweets.

In Dubai, a Persian Gulf city known for glitz, glamour and over-the-top achievements like the world's tallest skyscraper, officials sought to break another record by creating the largest fireworks show.

The Dubai skyline was a canvas for a dazzling 30-minute show. The display capped off with six minutes of fireworks that engulfed the city's man-made, palm-shaped island, with its fronds and trunk shimmering in thousands of lights.

Organizers had promised that the fireworks would form a flying falcon, a sunrise and the United Arab Emirates flag. It was not immediately clear if the promised designs or world record had been achieved.

The effort attempted to surpass the current world record held by another Gulf Arab state in just the first 60 seconds. Kuwait has held the record since last year, when it fired more than 77,000 fireworks in a display lasting more than an hour.

Guinness World Record officials were on hand to measure the scale of Dubai's event, which needed to be longer than five minutes to qualify.

More than 260 people were injured by firecracker blasts and celebratory gunfire in the Philippines, a nation marking the end of a year of tragic disasters, including a Nov. 8 typhoon that left more than 6,100 dead and nearly 1,800 missing.

"Many here are welcoming the new year after losing their mothers, fathers, siblings and children so you can imagine how it feels,'' said village chief Maria Rosario Bactol of Anibong community in Tacloban, the city worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan. "I tell them to face the reality, to move on and stand up, but I know it will never be easy.''

Back in New York, outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who hobnobbed with celebrities during past Times Square celebrations, was sitting out this year's festivities to spend time with family and friends. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was to be sworn in at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday at his Brooklyn home.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a New York City native, will lead the final 60-second countdown and push the ceremonial button to drop the ball.
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Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia; Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines; Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong; Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta, Indonesia; Ken Moritsugu, Yuri Kageyama and Eric Talmadge in Tokyo; Louise Watt in Beijing; and Colleen Long in New York City contributed to this report.

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