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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Anderson Cooper in Times Square

Aired December 31, 2006 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome -- Times Square, New York City. We are an hour away from welcoming in a brand new year. Nearly a million people have poured into this area tonight; they are all getting ready for the big countdown, as we say good-bye to 2006.
(MUSIC)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Rewind on 2006.

Danger. War.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beirut has been a city under attack.

COOPER: Frustration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're being told twelve miners alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twelve miners alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's only one.

COOPER: And anger.

A year of scandals --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will take full responsibility.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The anti-Semitic comments he made --

COOPER: -- that turned into a year --

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (IN PROGRESS) -- Robert Gates to be the next secretary of the Defense.

COOPER: -- of dramatic change.

(From video): We have confirmed that Saddam Hussein has in fact been killed.

(Voice-over): Now comes the reset.

We ring in 2007 around the globe and around America.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ANNOUNCER: This is New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper. With musical performances by Nelly Furtado, Scissorsisters, Lionel Ritchie, the B-52s, the Goo Goo Dolls and more.

Live from Times Square, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And thanks so much for joining us, ringing in yet another new year. You know, it takes a special kind of someone to brave the crowds here in Times Square. Look at all the people who are here. Almost a million people packed into 13 blocks.

The rain seems to be holding off. It is even above freezing. It is just 44 degrees. It is a balmy evening here in New York. And truly, there is no place like Times Square.

Look at some of these images as we bring you live pictures. Welcome to our special broadcast. We're going to be on the air for the next two hours, ringing in the New Year here in the East coast of the United States. Also showing you New Year's celebrations around the world and ringing in the New Year in the Central Time zones at 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

I'm Anderson Cooper. What is to be the world's biggest party to send out 2006 in style, our special countdown clock is ticking away in the corner of your screen. You can see it there. 59 minutes to go until midnight. At one minute before midnight, the big ball begins its descent down the 77-foot flagpole. Of course, we're going to bring you all of that live.

We're also taking you to New Years celebrations around America. Like the annual drag queen drop in Key West, Florida. And believe me, if you haven't seen that, well, you haven't really seen anything.

We're live also in New Orleans, in Chicago, and San Antonio. So if you're watching, again, in the Central Time Zone, we're going to ring in the New Year with you as well. So stay tuned for that. We'll be live right through 1:00 a.m. Eastern.

Plus, we got the final vote from our Keeping Them Honest contest in '06. Our viewers have looked over some folks who've stood up to authority for a good cause and picked their favorite. The winners going to join me a little bit later on.

But we are going to get this party started right now. CNN's Kyra Phillips is braving the crowds. Down in Times Square. Let's go to her. Kyra, how's it down there?

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: I'll tell what - braving it is right. Anderson, let me just take you through this crowd. Is everybody happy tonight? Are we ready?

(CHEERING)

All right, now every year, you always get a basket of really fun stuff. Right? So today, here it is. You got the hat, 2007 glasses. You got the rap. These -- I think we're going to make dinosaurs with these at the end of the night, but this is crazy. I don't know how we're going to keep track of all these people. I'm even wondering where their parents are.

Now along with all the people here down in Time Square, we can't forget the ball. And I'm going to test you on this later, Anderson.

Right up there, you can see it, right underneath the target. And I think we've got some video of it as well, when they are putting this ball together.

I think it's -- 700 lights, about 500 Waterford crystals. And on the crystals this year, it actually says, "hope for peace" in a time where we're still in the middle of a war in Iraq. 9/11 is still not far away from all the people here. Afghanistan. That's exactly what everybody's talking about. Not only about celebration, but hope for peace and hoping that 2007, it's going to be a different year. Already everybody is ready to bring it in, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Kyra. You can test me on that ball all you want. I've been doing this for four years. That ball is six feet in diameter, weighs more than 1,000 pounds. I got all the stats you want.

We promised we'd take you to New Year's Eve celebrations across the country. And we're going to make good on that promise.

We are live in Key West, Florida, in Chicago tonight, in San Antonio and New Orleans. Let's start right now John Zarrella, who is down in Key West, Florida.

John, Happy New Year. Tell the folks what's going to happen there.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson, it is packed here. I can't hear you. It is loud here. It is our fourth visit to Key West, but the tenth annual Drag Queen Drop. In less than an hour, Sushi, the drag queen, who's sitting up in that red stiletto up there is going to descend down to bring in the New Year. And, of course, we are here, once again, with all our favorite drag queens.

COOPER: And I know John's wife has started to accompany him to this event, because she gets a little bit nervous of letting him be there alone. So I'm sure maybe we'll try to talk to her a little bit later on, too.

Let's go to Robin Meade, anchor Robin and Company on Headline News. She's at Chicago's Navy Pier right on Lake Michigan. Robin, Happy New Year.

ROBIN MEADE, CNN ANCHOR: Happy New Year to you, at least pending. Right? So here we are. We don't have -- hi, guys! Maybe a couple of your few new thousand friends. Here at Navy Pier, we don't have a crystal ball drop. And we do have music going. We're going to be bringing you the live fireworks here at midnight central. And so we look forward to being part of that party! Anderson? COOPER: All right. Robin, thanks very much. We're going to head now down to Texas to check out preparations in San Antonio. Rick Sanchez, just steps from the river walk at the lone star state's largest New Year's Eve celebration.

Rick, almost happy New Year!

We're obviously having a technical problem with Rick. The crowd there is pretty loud. We'll try to get back to Rick shortly.

Now let's take you to a place that taught us all how to party. Sean Callebs is in New Orleans. He joins us from Artillery Park, just across from Jackson Square. Sean, Happy New Year to you.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson, Happy New Year to you, guys! What do you think, a better 2007 than 2006? What do you think? Than 2006?

(CHEERING)

There you go. You can feel the energy down here in New Orleans tonight, Anderson. We're going to drop the ball of gumbo in a couple hours. We need you back down here, too, Anderson. Come on and see us soon. Happy New Year! We'll talk to you soon.

COOPER: All right. Well, how about a big ball of gumbo that drops? We'll carry that to you as well live. It's time to add a little music to this party, courtesy of the Goo Goo Dolls. Their latest album is "Let Love In." Tonight, they're at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California, performing one of their hits. Let's take it away Goo Goo Dolls "Slide."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to say hi to Anderson Cooper and everybody watching around the world today. Happy New Year. We're the Goo Goo Dolls. It goes like this.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: And the Goo Goo Dolls performing in Anaheim in California. We got 51 minutes to a great, brand new New Years. We are just getting started.

Coming up, we'll take you back to Key West, check out preparations for their celebration there. If you've never soon the drag queen drop, it's -- well, it's hard to describe exactly, but it's not to be missed.

We'll also have more music. Pop diva Nelly Furtado celebrating the new year in India, takes the stage with a song from her latest album.

Also, want to make sure - want to see how you are celebrating tonight. You grab your digital camera right now, or turn on your video camera. Send us images from your party right now. E-mail them to CNN.com/iparty. That's CNN.com/iparty. And we'll put them on air as long as they're, you know, wholesome and everything. Keep your clothes on, for goodness sakes.

New Year's live at Times Square continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DAN RIVERS: Welcome to London and welcome to the party! I'm Dan Rivers and we've got the best seats in the city for you tonight.

Behind me, 150,000 people have crowded on to the embankment to see in the New Year. They're below the world famous clock tower, Big Ben. (INAUDIBLE) for those iconic chimes that will usher in the new year.

And off to my left, you can see the River Thames. The millennium wheel is there. We're less than 30 seconds away now from the New Year. There will be an enormous fireworks display here. A million dollars' worth of fireworks are about to go off. The wet weather hasn't put us off here. There goes Big Ben. And here comes 2007, London!

CROWD: Six, five, four, three, two, one.

(CHEERING)

COOPER: And that is ringing in the New Year in London in style. Welcome back. We are live at Times Square on New Year's Eve. I'm proud to be joined right now by New York's mayor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Happy New Year to you.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR, NEW YORK: Happy New Year to you and all of your viewers.

COOPER: And I ask you this every year. Any New Year's resolution? I think last year, it was to improve your golf game. Did it get any better?

BLOOMBERG: It hasn't gotten any better. I haven't had a lot of time to work at it.

But you know, look, I've got the greatest job in the world. I've got three more years at it. And my resolve is to work harder next year. And I'll have plenty of time for a vacation and playing golf three years from now.

COOPER: What's it like for people who have not been New York Times Square, where you've just seen London. We're showing New Year's celebrations around the world, but there really is no place like this.

BLOOMBERG: I just ran into some friends of mine from out of town, who by chance, that shows you how small a world it is. And they just couldn't believe it.

I think only if you've been here and experienced the excitement. On television, it isn't quite the same as if you're really here.

COOPER: True. BLOOMBERG: And for me, the most memorable, one of the most memorable moments of my life was being sworn in right here at midnight on December 31st, '01 and taking office then. And I have a picture at home of my daughters looking up at me and me looking up. And we're looking up at the fireworks.

COOPER: For me, it's that 10 minutes from midnight to 12:10 when all of New York seems to be singing "New York, New York" and "Auld Lang Syne" and Ray Charles singing "America, the Beautiful". It's really - it's a remarkable night.

BLOOMBERG: Well, New York -- if you'd ask people around the world what do they think of when they think of the United States, they think of New York. Its Manhattan skyline, it's the great buildings, it's the people, it's the crowds, it's the excitement.

Not everybody understands, whether they want to live here or not, New York really is really something different. And we have every reason to be proud. We have a long ways to go in making us perfect. We're not. Everybody doesn't share, but we're going in the right direction.

COOPER: Well, we wish you luck in the New Year. And Happy New Year to you, Mayor Bloomberg.

BLOOMBERG: Thank you.

COOPER: Thanks for coming by. Appreciate it.

BLOOMBERG: Happy New Year.

COOPER: Just one of the many people here enjoying this Times Square celebration.

Let's go right now back down to Key West, Florida, for their New Year's Eve tradition. It's also become a sort of CNN tradition. We're trying to show all the different sides of New Year's this year. They're getting ready for the Annual Drag Queen Drop.

Our John Zarrella has been covering this thing for many years. John, how's it going this year?

ZARRELLA: Hey, Anderson. Yes, this is certainly a different side of it, isn't it? This is our fourth consecutive year. The crowd is terrific. But this is the tenth anniversary of the actual Sushi Drop. And I've got with me, of course, Kiley, who's been with us every year. And this year, we have our own countdown clock, Anderson. Our sushi countdown clock.

So we're counting down to the top of the hour for the sushi drop. And I've also got with me tonight, R.V. Hi, R.V.! What's the name stand for?

R.V.: Recreation's vehicle.

ZARRELLA: I'm not going there. Not tonight, no. No. Sushi is up in the shoe. Sushi is getting ready. Hey, Sushi!

(CHEERING)

About forty-five minutes, Anderson and Sushi will be coming down in the shoe. And I'm tossing it back to you, because we can't hear a thing down here, Anderson! It is crazy.

COOPER: All right, John. We'll talk to you a bit little later on. I like the new sushi clock. It's -- that's a whole new aspect to their New Year's celebrations.

Nelly Furtado is part of Nokia's five cities, one party musical celebration. Her latest album is "Loose". Here she is all the way in Mumbai, India singing "Maneater."

NELLY FURTADO: Thank you! Whew! Give a toast!

(MUSIC)

COOPER: That is Nelly Furtado performing in Mumbai, India.

Now let's go back to Kyra Phillips, who is performing with the crowd right here in Times Square - Kyra?

PHILLIPS: I'm trying. Anderson, we'll be thinking of all the stories that we're going to remember throughout 2006. I can just imagine what you would say with all the travels that you've done in the past year.

But I've been asking members in the crowd what the most memorable moments in 2006 - all right, Jordan, most memorable story in 2006?

JORDAN: The Lebanese War.

PHILLIPS: Lebanese War. Anderson, I know you remember that well. You were there for more than month.

And how about you? And your most memorable story?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say Saddam's hanging.

PHILLIPS: That is true, something that just happened over the weekend. There we go. We get of course Times Square right now, everybody's remembering. What's happening throughout 2006, getting ready for 2007, but let's take a look at some of the other top stories of 2006.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: A shocking new detail in the death of young Daniel, at number five, the sudden death of Anna Nicole Smith's 20-year-old son, and the mystery surrounding it.

Why he appeared to confess to killing Jonbenet Ramsey, we may never know, but the bizarre twists and turns involving John Mark Karr were the fourth most popular story on CNN.com.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come this way. Come this way. Where's my boy?

PHILLIPS: At number three, crocodile hunter Steve Irwin killed when a stingray barb pierced his chest while filming at TV special off the coast of Australia.

Millions of you tracked the month-long war between Israel and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon. Though August brought a cease-fire, the war strengthened Hezbollah's influence on the region.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It now looks like the Democrats will, in fact, win control of the House of Representatives.

PHILLIPS: But by a landslide, the number one story on CNN.com -- the midterm elections. Voter unease over events in Iraq and scandal in Washington gave the Democrats control of Congress for the first time since 1994.

NANCY PELOSI: Today, we have made history.

PHILLIPS: Making Nancy Pelosi the first female speaker of the House, a story with implications that will last long into the New Year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Anderson, I don't know about you. The most memorable story for me was when I was anchoring in the afternoon. And we can't forget Cory Lidle, the baseball player, when his plane flew in to a building not far from here.

For you, what was the most memorable story of 2006?

COOPER: Well, probably going to Afghanistan and having the honor of being embedded with some troops from the 10th Mountain Division for the anniversary of 9/11. It was a remarkable week.

But I got to tell you. Nothing beats being right here, right now in Times Square. There truly is, I mean, it's a cliche to say there's no place like it. But you just look at these pictures, the lights, the sounds, the excitement. And when that ball drops at the stroke of midnight and the New Year is ushered in, you really have to witness this.

You know, if you're watching this on television, stay tuned for that 10 to 15 minutes from 12:00 to 12:15. It is truly extraordinary.

We're also going to be showing you more celebrations from around the world. We already showed how they rang in the New Year in London.

There are probably at least one million people right here, right now in Times Square. Just ahead, we're going to take you to an even bigger gathering going on right now halfway around the world in Saudi Arabia. Also one of country music's hottest duos is getting ready to perform. Montgomery Gentry will sing "Hillbilly Shoes".

And one of my favorite bands. If you haven't heard them, you ought to. "The Scissor Sisters" about to eat things up. They are in Berlin as we count down to 2007, live in Times Square.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back. We're live in New York. You're looking at a shot from a camera on the roof of the Marriott Marquis. You're looking at us live here at Times Square. Part of tonight's crowd. There's the camera all the way up there at the top of the hotel.

Tonight's crowd, nearly a million people they say who are here to celebrate. Welcome back.

It is New Year's Eve. And while there is a huge party is going on right here. And we're counting it down on the side of your screen. You can see some 35 minutes, 38 seconds left to go until the ball drops, 'til 2007 is ushered in.

At this moment, there's even larger event going on in Saudi Arabia, where more than two million Muslims are taking part in the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to mecca. It is a very kind of event. Of course, Zain Verjee is just outside mecca now. Zain, what's going on there?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Anderson. Happy New Year to you from mecca. It's already that time.

Muslims here are celebrating a slightly different way. It's the third day of Eid Ada (ph). It's a religious festival that essentially marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage.

Almost 3 million Muslims were here in this old oasis town to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. It's really something you can compare to Thanksgiving or Christmas. You know, families get together. They exchange gifts. They have a lot of good food. People are off work. The kids are out of school.

Behind is one of most spectacular, you know, icons, really, of the Muslim world. The karba (ph) you see behind me at the grand mosque. It's a black cube-like structure.

Muslims pray towards the karba (ph) their whole lives. And they get really emotional when they come here and they finally seeing it. They're performing some of the last rituals here in mecca.

You know, the karba (ph), Anderson, is not an object that they worship specifically. They don't pray toward the object. And it's not an object of worship, rather. They go around it symbolically to show that god is at the center of their lives. And they're essentially saying their final farewell. Anderson?

COOPER: It is a remarkable event, Zain. Thanks very much for covering from there.

Not far from where we are here in Times Square, another New Year's event is about to kick-off, a four-mile run. Before we take you, though, to Central Park, just look at some of these images, these live pictures, as we await the New Year.

It is an extraordinary sight to see these 13 blocks around Times Square literally packed with people. Everyone in a very festive mood. Security is very tight. Everyone is frisked before they come in. There's no alcohol visible.

And yet, there is a real celebratory atmosphere going on. There have been sing-alongs, people counting down each hour. And as we approach that midnight hour, you can really feel the energy increasing. More and more people coming from around the city trying to come to here in Times Square.

If you're not already here in the heart of Times Square, it's already pretty much too late. But you can't see it from some of these pictures, but stretching down side streets there are just tens of thousands of people, as far as the eye can see. All just want a little piece of it.

But you at home are getting a perfect front-row seat. These pictures, no one getting you closer.

Right now, though, about a mile or so away from here, there is a midnight run about to take place in New York's famous Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Omsay (ph), one of the remarkable parks of the world. We saved our most special assignment of the night for Gary Tuchman, who joins us from Central Park. He's actually going to take part in this midnight run.

Gary, what's happening in the park now?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Anderson. This is a remarkable park, especially tonight. There are thousands of people in it, getting ready for a great tradition for almost three decades. They've had what they call a fun run in Central Park. It's a four-mile run that starts in the stroke of midnight. Fireworks go off. And 5,000 runners will run four miles. And we'll be using special wireless technology so I can participate in it. And you can see if I can actually finish this four-mile race and talk at the same time.

But another part of this tradition is the costume contest. And with me -- with me are the winners. One of the winners. And these are...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rockin' reindeer.

TUCHMAN: The rockin' reindeer. Santa's reindeer. They're about eight or nine of them. Where are you guys from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New York City.

TUCHMAN: Yes. And whose idea was the costume?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sarah Rumer (ph).

TUCHMAN: Sarah, all right. Who is Sarah? I don't know. Who is Sarah?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know.

TUCHMAN: She doesn't know. You can see - Rudolph, right there. That's Sarah. It was her idea. And they won money. How much money did you win?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we won $200!

TUCHMAN: $200 split how many ways?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we're going to split it 11 ways.

TUCHMAN: Eleven ways, OK. So $18 a piece. But that's the fun of New Year's.

Anderson, we'll be back later. You'll see us running in the race. Back to you.

COOPER: Well, Gary, if you get lost during the race, just follow Rudolph. Just follow that red nose, just like Santa did on that night -- that year when they almost cancelled Christmas.

Stay right there. We got a lot more ahead. We're going to see how they're getting ready to ring in the New Year in New Orleans. We're talking about a giant pot of gumbo being lowered. That's something to see.

And in Chicago, as well. That, of course, in the Central Time zones. We're on the air past 1:00 a.m. because we're ringing in the New Year, not only in the East Coast of the United States, not only around the world, but also in the Central Time zones in the United States. So stay tuned wherever you are.

Also ahead, the winner of our Keeping Them Honest Contest. We'll find out who you, the viewers, think deserves a reward for challenging authority in their own lives, in their own communities throughout 2006. We've had some remarkable people take part in that.

Plus, the band that, well -- got to kind of hear. The Scissor Sisters will keep things rocking for us ahead there in Berlin. This is really around the world, around America celebration.

We've got something for you country fans as well. Montgomery Gentry is going to perform one of their hits. And here are just some of the people who sent us pictures of their New Year's Eve celebrations.

You can still get in on this. E-mail us your digital photos, your video of your party to CNN.com/iparty. Look there. They're having a big party with the hot dogs. CNN.com/iparty. We'll put them on the air as long as they're clean.

That's from Ashley Rumen. Julia, Amanda, Ashley there in Morristown, Tennessee. Wow, they've got like crowns on their heads. We close out 2006. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: If you're at home, grab a beverage, grab some food. We are counting down the New Year. 27 minutes left to go.

Welcome back. We are live in New York's Times Square, New York City. This is our fourth time I've been covering this. And there is no place I'd rather be than here with you all counting in the New Year.

This is a remarkable experience and remarkable party. The emotions is building here. Everyone is getting ready. You can see the ball flashing. The ball all the way up there on the top of the building, just ready for that big, giant, more than 1,000-pound Waterford crystal ball to come down marking 2007.

Kyra Phillips is down in the crowd with some of the people celebrating here tonight. Kyra, who are these people? Where are they from?

PHILLIPS: Oh, they are from all over the country. Let me tell you. This is Mandy. Mandy, you're from San Diego?

MANDY: I am from San Diego, yes.

PHILLIPS: And why did you come out here? To party, obviously. But why New York?

MANDY: Why not? This is the only place to be on New Year's Eve.

PHILLIPS: All right, well, apparently you're a CNN watcher. So I'm going to test your news skills here. All right. We're going to see if she knows who this news player is right here. Who is this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Condoleezza Rice.

PHILLIPS: Oh, you gave it away! How about there. Can we see here?

MANDY: Condoleezza Rice.

PHILLIPS: The president?

All right, we're go going to give her the bag, anyway. Condoleezza Rice. There you go, Mandy. Of course, what are the newsmakers in 2006? Thank you, David. All right, let's -- who else is down here? Oh, here we go. Where's are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jersey.

PHILLIPS: From -- you're a jersey girl. Have you seen "Jersey Boys" yet?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I haven't, but I want to. It looks like a lot of fun.

PHILLIPS: There, you got to get yourself there. All right, you're Tara, right?

TARA: Yes.

PHILLIPS: All right, I got a question for you. All right. Anderson, we all know this newsmaker, of course, from 2006. Tell me who this is.

TARA: Andre Agassi.

PHILLIPS: Very good. And do you remember his final match?

TARA: No, I don't.

PHILLIPS: Oh, he had tears in his eyes. How could you forget that? What's that?

TARA: I'm a golfer. Not a tennis player.

PHILLIPS: All right, that's fair. There you go. Thank you, my dear.

Of course, Anderson I know if I went through all these pictures, you would remember them, too. How can we forget these guys? I'm wondering if you're on youtube, Anderson?

COOPER: I don't know. I try not to check that sort of thing. Kyra, thanks.

From Times Square here in New York - yes, I know. We head to the Rupp arena in Lexington, Kentucky for music from Montgomery Gentry. They've got a new album out called "Some People Change."

Tonight, they are performing one of their fans favorites, "Hillbilly Shoes." Let's listen in. Montgomery Gentry.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: And the clock is ticking down. That was Montgomery Gentry performing. 23 minutes -- a little bit more than 23 minutes left to go. We are closing in on the main event here in Times Square.

It is a balmy evening, about 44 degrees. We've got some great bands lined up to help us ring in the New Year. The New Year both here on the East coast, but also, stick around, because we're on still past 1:00 a.m., ringing in the New Year in the Central Time zones as well.

We're also going to bring you to Sydney in Moscow. Some of the other places that already brought in the New Year. We'll also hear from the Scissor Sisters, from the Killers. They'll perform a song from their latest album.

Plus, they call themselves the world's best party band. We are kicking it with the B-52s. And they are counting down in Chicago, where they're ringing in the New Year with bars and ballrooms and da Bears. We'll take you there, of course when New Year's live continues. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back. It is New Year's Eve. We are live in Times Square, New York City. You're seeing it from, well, from the camera at the Marriott Marquis, one of the many positions we have here in Times Square. We're ringing in 2007. We're going to count down the minutes again for all of you, as I said, celebrating the Central Time zone.

There are just some of the happy revelers. They've all got hats. They've got enormous balloons. They've got scarves. They've got a whole bunch of stuff that's been given away.

A lot of - this party has been going on now for several hours. But it is - it's remarkably warm here, as it has been for the last couple of years. People are in a great mood. It is a lot of fun.

Robin Meade, anchor of "ROBIN & COMPANY" on Headline News is with the crowd at the Navy Pier in Chicago. Let's check in with her.

Robin, it looks like people are having a good time there, too.

MEADE: Yes, I guess people are getting their dance and their drink on here. And you know what? When I talked to the Chicago police department -- obviously there's a little delay. They just saw themselves on TV.

When I talked to the Chicago police department, they were saying they're kind of expecting it to be a very rowdy New Year's Eve, believe it or not, here in Chicago, because it's so much fun on the lake front.

Now pull away from these lovely people. And let me show you the ballroom that we're in here. It's totaling a couple thousand people. And you can kind of see it's that it's a historic area.

But Anderson, the reason why this is such a hot spot is because the view that is offered outside, the beautiful skyline of Chicago.

So if we can show you that shot, you're going to see why this is a hot spot to be. It shows the beautiful skyline of Chicago. And then, what these are, the fireworks are going to be reflected off the water. And so, that's why a lot of people want to be here.

A lot more people than what you're seeing now are going to be here because these folks are trying to get their best seat in the house.

But at this very moment, I have a little graphic to show you, why so many people are expected in the downtown area. OK? We're at Navy Pier. It's just off the downtown area into Lake Michigan.

Now also down at Soldier Field, we have the Bears playing tonight, a Packers game. People are a little ticked off because they moved the NFL moved the game from noon to 7:15. And it's perfect place - we have a Snoop Dogg concert. In addition, to two fireworks shows here on the lakefront. So it's all about the traffic control. And they're expecting it to be a little bit rowdy, but all under control.

So -- as they enthusiastically drink on, we'll go back to you. Anderson?

COOPER: Hey, Robin, let ask you, the lady on your left, what is she drinking?

MEADE: This lady right here? What are you drinking?

COOPER: Yes, who else?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am drinking the -- I love my family, and Happy New Year's! I am so excited.

MEADE: I'm not sure she know what's she's drinking...

COOPER: Yes, no.

MEADE: ...but she's excited!

COOPER: Yes, I think she's beyond caring about what she's drinking. I certainly hope she's not driving. I assume she's taking a cab home. Robin, thanks. We'll check in with you.

Now we're going to take the party to Germany to Berlin. We have 18 minutes left to go before the New Year's here. They are already welcoming in 2007 to the sound of the Scissor Sisters in Berlin. The band, part of Nokia's five-cities one party celebration.

Here they are with their new hit song "I Don't Feel Like Dancing."

(MUSIC)

COOPER: Those are the Scissor Sisters playing "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" from their new album, "Ta-Da".

In a minute, we'll take you to Key West where John Zarrella is keeping an eye on the preparations for the big Annual Drag Queen Drop. Also, music from the Killers. The band performance just ahead. Then Sister Hazel's going to join us live to sing one of their big hits.

And we've got just minutes to go until the ball comes down here in Times Square. And we would not miss that for the world.

We're going to take a quick break. This is the last break. And then, it's live nonstop all the wait to 2007. Quick, grab a soda, or whatever you're drinking, grab some food, grab the kids, the wife, grab your partners. Do-si-do on right back. Stay right here. You don't want to miss this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back. Live pictures here of Times Square in the heart of the world right now, the center of the world. 11:46 p.m. here on the East coast. 13 minutes, 9 seconds, left to go. We are no more commercial breaks. We're going to take you all the way through the New Year here, ringing in 2007.

The sights, the sounds. You are not going to want to miss the next 20 minutes. We'll also going to be ringing in the New Year in the Central Time zone, going well past 1:00 a.m. here on the East coast.

Let's quickly head to Orlando, where Sister Hazel is live and rockin' the House of Blues with "All For You."

(MUSIC)

COOPER: Sister Hazel performing live in Orlando, Florida. We are here live in New York's Times Square, where there is just a little bit more than 10 minutes to the drop of the ball to 2007.

The crowd is getting excited. The mayor has taken the stage here. We are getting very, very close. Let's quickly go to New York Central Park, where Gary Tuchman is monitoring the Fun Run that is another New York city tradition. Gary, how's it going?

TUCHMAN: Anderson, we're about one mile north of you. And I'm standing with about 5,000 of my closest friends right now. And we are getting ready to run four miles in a great tradition. It's been going on about 30 years. And they talk about it saying that this is the healthiest way to spend New Year's Eve.

But actually the healthiest way is by New Year's Day, because it begins exactly at the stroke of midnight. That's when this race begins.

Now we're starting to walk towards the starting line right now. But at the stroke of midnight, we start running the four miles. Fireworks start going off. People are in costumes, as you can see.

Where are you from? Let me ask you. Turn around. You got to turn around. There's the camera. Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, I live in New York, but I'm from Chicago.

TUCHMAN: I'm from Chicago, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No way.

TUCHMAN: Welcome to Central Park.

Anyway, while I'm standing here with the people running seven- minute miles. I don't think I'm going to run a seven-minute mile. I'll be happy if I finish this race and may be able to talk at the same time. That's my goal tonight, Anderson. It should be a lot of fun.

And by the way, I'm really lucky. This is really cool. They gave me number 2007. Back to you.

COOPER: That's cool. Gary, we'll check in with you throughout the run. We'll see how long you make it.

Let's go down to Key West, Florida, where John Zarrella is watching the preparations for the Annual Drag Queen drop. That is the tradition in Key West. How's it going, John?

ZARRELLA: Anderson, it's going great. I got my shoe on. I've got my own stiletto here. We're counting down with our sushi clock. It's about 10 minutes t/to the sushi drop.

Kiley's watching the clock for us. You know, what our audience has never seen, and we're going to show you for the first time tonight, is what Sushi looks like, before Sushi becomes Sushi.

We shot some video a couple hours ago of Sushi getting dressed. It's Gary Marion. And Gary took about 20 hours to make the dress he's in right now tonight, as he transforms himself over a period of about 45 minutes or so to Sushi.

Now the dress he's wearing tonight is a saloon singer's outfit. And again, took him about 20 hours to make that dress by himself. And I'm going to brave it here and lean out and talk to Sushi real quick. And Anderson, you jump in when you want. Sushi, that's a terrific outfit tonight.

SUSHI: Thank you, John. Thank you very much.

ZARRELLA: Twenty hours to make it?

SUSHI: Oh, it too more than that, darling. It took weeks. Weeks. You know, but here in Key West, we do things slowly.

ZARRELLA: Anderson might have a question for you. Anderson, you got something for Sushi this year?

COOPER: Yes, how did this tradition get started?

SUSHI: Well, Joey Schroeder and Jimmy Gileron started it about 10 years ago here in Key West. But you know what? The weather here in Key West is always beautiful.

ZARRELLA: Sushi, thanks. We got about seven minutes. And I'm leaning out over the edge for you this year.

SUSHI: Love you, Anderson!

ZARRELLA: Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: All right, John, thanks very much. We are -- it is now seven minutes away here. And we are not leaving New York now anymore. This is the place to be right now.

Look at these crowds here. They are getting excited. The music is playing here. They have speakers set up all throughout Times Square. It is just blasting music here.

Mayor Bloomberg is getting ready to do what he does every year at this time. He has been surrounded now by members of all the armed services, representatives from all the armed services, who will help him lower the ball. They will press that giant button. And at the stroke of midnight, the ball will lower and hit 2007.

Kyra Phillips is down in the crowd. Kyra, it is, you can -- it is incredibly exciting from where I'm standing. Down in the crowd, I can only imagine.

PHILLIPS: And oh, I can see you up there, too. Now this 360 is just for you. So you can see all the people around me, Anderson, down here in Times Square.

1904 was the first celebration here. 200,000 people. Now I'm being told a million or more stretching from Times Square all the way to Central Park, where Gary Tuchman is. And he's doing that run.

And not only amount of people, but the confetti. The confetti, 7,000 pounds, has been dropping every hour. Well, actually, that's the total amount, but every hour. And on the confetti, celebrate. Cheer, peace, play, and dance. What do you think, Anderson? What are you going to do in 2007?

COOPER: Oh, you know I haven't even thought that far ahead. I'm hoping just to get through tonight. So Kyra, let test your knowledge here, since you're Miss Know It All about the confetti. Tell me about the ball. Tell me about the ball.

PHILLIPS: I will tell you about the ball, my friend. Even though I know you know everything about it, it's right up there, underneath the target. All ready, the colors are changing on the ball.

There's about 700 lights, 500 crystals, beautiful little Waterford crystals. And the theme this year is "Hope for Peace." And I believe, tell me if I'm right, 1,070 pounds, six feet in diameter. Did I get it?

COOPER: You're good. You're good, Phillips.

PHILLIPS: Now, wait a minute. I got a question for you. The very first ball. What was it made out of?

COOPER: Oh -- you know what? You got me. I don't know. What was it made out of?

PHILLIPS: Oh, iron and wood.

COOPER: All right. Darn! You got me with that.

PHILLIPS: Steel trap. Yes, there you go. You'll never forget it now.

COOPER: I know. That's the last time we're hosting together.

It is five minutes to go. You can see it in the corner of your screen. 5 minutes and 9 seconds.

Let's just take a look at some of the different angles here from Times Square. There is that giant ball. It will take about all of a minute or so to actually lower. Those last 10 seconds will be counted down.

We're just going to be quiet at a certain point. And I know there's probably a sigh of relief going on around the world right now, that thought.

But we're just going to let you hear all the sights, see all the sights, and hear all the sounds for yourself, uninterrupted, no commercial breaks, no nothing, 4 minutes, 38 seconds left to go.

It all will get started with Mayor Bloomberg and the representatives from the various armed forces. We have seen in past years, we've seen people propose to one another. We've seen people renew their vows. We've seen a lot of kissing. And I'm sure we'll see a lot of that in this crowd.

Let's just take a look. I'm going to be quiet for a few seconds. Let's just listen to what it's like to be here right now in Times Square.

For the crowds, they've been playing that now several hours, all different songs. Kyra, let's talk to some of the people in the crowd. Three minutes, 44 seconds left to go.

PHILLIPS: All right, let me take you over to the crowd. Come on over. Oh, we're going to listen to "Imagine" right how. Is that what we're going to do, Anderson?

COOPER: Yes. Let's listen to another annual New York tradition. Listening to John Lennon's "Imagine."

PHILLIPS: Absolutely. OK.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: And there it begins. Less than a minute to go. Let's watch and count down. 44 seconds. Left to go, 18.

(CHEERING)

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