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After The Times Square Party Comes the Cleanup

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NEW YORK — Party’s over. Time to clean up.

Shortly after the ball dropped in Times Square, cleanup crews got to work with brooms and blowers to clear the confetti paper, pizza boxes, streamers, popped balloons and empty soda bottles littered on the sidewalks and push them into the street after the massive New Year’s celebration at the crossroads of the world.

Hundreds of thousands of revelers packed the bow tie section of streets in Manhattan for the annual celebration. When the shimmering crystal ball dropped, a ton of confetti was released into the cheering crowd to usher in 2014.

But all that fun makes for a lot of garbage. Last year, the Department of Sanitation removed 50.84 tons of debris. The total for this year wasn’t yet available.

The city’s Sanitation Department had more than 150 workers on duty, along with about 40 extra members of the Times Square Alliance who helped corral refuse.

Greg Banister, 55, a Department of Sanitation broom operator, said there were dozens of machines ready to clean up the party. Crews used leaf blowers, mechanical sweepers and collection trucks.

Every year the most commonly recovered items include money and jewelry plus lost hats and gloves, he said.

“I volunteer for this shift,” he said. “I always have a good time. People are in the party mood.”

He said the best part about this year’s cleanup was the weather: “Usually when it’s dry, it’s better,” he said. “When it’s wet, it’s tough.”

Some revelers were helping out the cleanup effort on their own.

Alex Morrow, 26, and his fiancee, Amanda Townsend, 24, visiting from Dalton, Ga., waited 13 hours for prime spots to see the ball drop — and after sharing a romantic New Year’s Eve kiss, they pocketed some of the multi-colored confetti paper as a memento.

“We’re taking some of this home,” Townsend said.

“This was like a big party,” Morrow said.

Sanitation crews worked quickly through the night.

“By 8 a.m. … you’ll never realize we had the largest party in the world here,” said Alliance sanitation director Joe Costarella said.

He was right — the streets had returned to normal by late Wednesday morning.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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