(ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION) New York's Times Square erupted with fireworks and cheers at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday (January 1) as thousands of hardy merrymakers braved pouring rain and watched the glowing New Year's Eve ball complete its midnight descent to mark the start of 2019.
For the multitudes who gathered in the famed midtown Manhattan crossroads, the thrilling moment was reward for enduring hours of standing in a steady downpour during the waning hours of 2018.
The steady rain appeared to do little to dampen the spirits of the assembled multitudes, many of whom donned colorful, oversized top hats and rain ponchos handed out by sponsors.
The organizers chose to honor press freedom and the contribution of journalists partly because of the deadly hostility that some reporters have faced this year.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi columnist for the Washington Post and U.S. resident, was killed inside a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey.
In June, a gunman shot dead five employees of The Capital, a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.
This month also marked the first anniversary of the imprisonment in Myanmar of Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.