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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Anderson Cooper in Times Square

Aired January 1, 2007 - 00:00   ET

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


(TIMES SQUARE CHEERING)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And happy New Year as we listen to the crowd celebrating here in New York. We're also going to show you pictures, Marines celebrating in Rutbah, Iraq. Some of our brave men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(MUSIC PLAYING, "NEW YORK NEW YORK")

COOPER: And a happy New Year to all who are watching wherever you may be. We wish you much health and happiness in the New Year. Soon we'll be hearing Ray Charles performing "America the Beautiful." We will, of course, bring that to you, as well. Just one of the many traditions here. It is done every year here in New York. You are also seeing fireworks now. Kyra's down in the crowd.

Kyra, there's really nothing like these few moments right now.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Oh my gosh, Anderson. I remember being down here right after 9/11. And there was a spirit and there was an excitement only a couple of hundred thousand people at that time. Now more than a million. And look at everybody. I mean, everybody is ready to bring in the New Year. Already talking about their plans for 2007. Let me just introduce you to a couple of people.

All right, guys. Your plans for 2007?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, all the best, peace! Peace and good wishes to everybody!

PHILLIPS: There we go. Peace and good wishes. You can't beat that. Look at this crowd. I'm telling you.

All right, all right, guys. Your plans for 2007?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Be happy!

PHILLIPS: There we go. Plans for 2007?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get drunk!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another baby.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get drunk!

PHILLIPS: To have a baby! She just announced to her husband she's going to have a baby. That's perfect. All right.

Plans for 2007. What are your plans for 2007?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, good -- you know, good luck to everybody!

PHILLIPS: There we go. Good luck for everybody. All right. Let's move on down here.

Hey, how about -- what are your plans for 2007?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have any.

PHILLIPS: No resolutions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

PHILLIPS: Oh, come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To make more money.

PHILLIPS: To make more money. There we go.

Mayor Bloomberg, Anderson, you have got the connection. Maybe we can get more for the NYPD.

Hey there. Happy New Year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: What is your name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alexis.

PHILLIPS: Alexis. Did you have fun tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

PHILLIPS: Yes? How late do you get to stay out tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know.

PHILLIPS: Hopefully late. Show us your party dress. Wow. And look at those shoes. Frank, can you see her shoes? Let me see those shoes, Alexis. Aw, beautiful red hair. Happy New Year.

All right. Let's work our way through the crowd. You still with me, Anderson?

COOPER: I am, I am. You are doing great. This is great.

PHILLIPS: All right. You can see I'm going to keep introducing you to people. How are you doing, Frank? Oh, he's dying with the Steadicam. All right.

What are your New Year's resolutions for 2007? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quit smoking.

PHILLIPS: Quit smoking. All right. Your...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't even hear you right now.

PHILLIPS: Oh, you can't hear me. That's a good way to get out of it.

What are your plans for 2007, gals?

(YELLING, CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... a hotel, so we're going back to the lobby.

PHILLIPS: All right. Go for it!

(YELLING, CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS: Oh, you guys...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy New Year!

PHILLIPS: OK. Obviously you want to be on TV. What are your plans for 2007?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2007, I'm going to get married.

PHILLIPS: Get married.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going do get married.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Married.

PHILLIPS: That is outstanding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Did you guys just get engaged?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes we did. April of 2006.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last year.

PHILLIPS: Oh, OK. So you didn't propose tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not tonight.

PHILLIPS: Well, congratulations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: All right. Happy New Year. Let's see who else we can meet. Let's come over here. Hey, ladies of the NYPD, now we're talking, all right, plans for 2007, your resolutions?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: None, whatsoever. Just have a good time.

PHILLIPS: Have a good time? That works.

What about you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have a good time, and hopefully fall in love and stay in love.

PHILLIPS: Fall in love. Well, I notice you're working the eye makeup. You look beautiful. And look, look at this. Santiago (ph) has Chanel sunglasses. She knows how to style with the NYPD. I love it. Happy New Year.

Hey, guys. Happy New Year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you? Happy New Year!

PHILLIPS: Happy New Year! Your resolutions for 2007?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hard work and fun.

PHILLIPS: Hard work and fun.

Resolutions for 2007?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happiness, love, good health and a lot of lotion.

PHILLIPS: Oh, OK! I think I'm going to move along.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS: Oh! All right!. So, you must be a young ensign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes -- no, I'm a seaman, E-3.

PHILLIPS: All right. Seaman is outstanding. So have you been on cruise yet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I have.

PHILLIPS: Where have you been?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just around the Atlantic.

PHILLIPS: OK. That's all right. So what are your plans for 2007?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don't know yet.

PHILLIPS: All right. You're still thinking about it? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

PHILLIPS: How about peace?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always a good thing.

PHILLIPS: There you go. (INAUDIBLE).

All right. Come on. We got Army. We had to get to get a sailor. We have got to get Army. Where have you been?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From St. Louis...

PHILLIPS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... Missouri.

PHILLIPS: St. Louis, Missouri, outstanding. How long you been in the Army?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just graduated basic training.

PHILLIPS: Basic training. Oh boy. You have got a long way to go, my friend. Good luck in 2007.

All right, Anderson. I think we have got it covered. Almost every branch of the military. He has to say hi from...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) from New York, and I love it! You guys are beautiful!

PHILLIPS: Oh, Anderson, I'm going to need some help. I need you to like pull me out of here. It's getting crazy down here.

COOPER: No, I like it, I like it. It is getting crazy. That is true.

PHILLIPS: I can smell the champagne.

COOPER: Yes. The sights and the smells of New York City. There is nothing quite like it. Kyra, we'll check back in with you.

We have got Gary Tuchman doing a fun run about a mile from here in Central Park. We'll check in with him in a little bit. We're watching New Year's parties all over the country. What's a party really without the sound of The B-52s? They have got a new album coming out in 2007. Right now let's go to the coast, to Atlantic City where The B-52s have been cranking it up with what else? "Love Shack."

FRED SCHNEIDER, SINGER, THE B-52S: Happy New Year! CNN, happy New Year! Everybody, peace, love, everything! Let's go to the love shack!

KATE PIERSON, SINGER, THE B-52S: Caesar's and CNN.

(MUSIC PLAYING, "LOVE SHACK") COOPER: And those are The B-52s, no one quite like them, performing in Atlantic City the old hit "Love Shack." They have got a new album coming out in 2007. The party still continues here in Times Square. The music is pumping. The crowds -- a lot of people leaving but a lot of people staying, just trying to soak it all in.

Still looking at a live picture there of some of the celebrations that are still going on. Down at Key West, Florida, they don't bring in the New Year by dropping a crystal ball, they drop a drag queen named Sushi. Let's check in with CNN's John Zarrella to see how it went.

John, did everything go off OK?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Anderson, it did right on cue like clockwork right at the stroke of midnight. Sushi in the red stiletto was cranked down about two stories, made it down. You can hear them counting down. Sushi in that bright blue showgirl outfit she had on tonight. Again, took her about 20 hours to make it.

Now, you know, what would it be if I didn't surround myself with my favorite drag queens here? And we have got some first-timers with us now. The Latin Diva (ph), right?

UNIDENTIFIED DRAG QUEEN: That's right, baby, (INAUDIBLE) Gomez (ph).

ZARRELLA: The Latin Diva is with us. And also we have got Porsche (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED DRAG QUEEN: Hi, baby. How are you?

ZARRELLA: I'm doing good. You're looking good tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED DRAG QUEEN: Well, thank you. I'm surprised.

ZARRELLA: And, always, we have Kylie (ph), four years. Kylie, New Year's would not be the same without you.

UNIDENTIFIED DRAG QUEEN: No, it wouldn't. Happy New Year, Anderson. Great to be here again. Nice to see you, John.

ZARRELLA: A good year, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED DRAG QUEEN: Yes, excellent.

ZARRELLA: A lot of fun tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED DRAG QUEEN: Yes, crazy (INAUDIBLE).

ZARRELLA: It is crazy here, Anderson. It's been a lot of fun. And we look forward to the fifth anniversary for us next year here in Key West. Bringing in the New Year with Sushi and the drag queens -- Anderson.

COOPER: John, just let me ask you a question, John. I don't know if you can hear me. Are you gradually disrobing? Are you taking off pieces of your clothing? Because you seem to be wearing something different than what you were first wearing.

ZARRELLA: Yes. I was. And next year, I think that we're going to even go a little more. I may even be the shoe next year, Anderson. We're thinking about that.

COOPER: We'll see. All right. I'm not sure Key West is ready for that. Thanks John Zarrella, thanks very much.

ZARRELLA: You got it.

COOPER: John is always a good sport. They are still waiting for midnight in the Central time zone. We're live in celebrations Chicago, in New Orleans, in San Antonio. We are not going off the air until well past 1:00 a.m. Let's start with Robin Meade, anchor of "Robin & Company" on HEADLINE NEWS. She's with the crowd at Chicago's Navy Pier, oh, and she's rocking the house -- Robin Meade.

ROBIN MEADE, HOST, "ROBIN & COMPANY": You know, I got up on this chair, I don't know if you can see me. I thought I'd wave around my cell phone because I'm so back in the crowd here. Well, I know there's a few thousand people inside here and they are kind of -- you know, getting ready to dance here at midnight.

I wanted to show you the outside because the Bears game just let out. I think the Bears lost. Big deal in Chicago. And here's an outside look at how many people are gathering and we will show you those fireworks. See you, Anderson.

COOPER: There you go. Robin Meade on a chair, partying like she just don't care. We'll check in with Robin a little bit later on. Again, we're going to -- yes, I'm sorry about that. It's getting late. What can I say? We're going to bring in the New Year with Robin in Chicago. Let's check in the South, in New Orleans. Sean Callebs is in Artillery Park overlooking Jackson Square.

Sean, how's the party there?

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know what? I'm seeing the other party venues tonight. I can put this one with any of those venues. You know, robin's a little overdressed. Come down to New Orleans. This is how people really celebrate. On the stage right now, Troy Andrews, AKA Trombone Shorty. You've heard of him, Anderson. He is a New Orleans legend. This is a great place to be. But the gumbo's going to crop in just about 55, 50 minutes or so. It is a blast. This place is rocking tonight. I'm the pied piper. I walk through the crowd with this mike (INAUDIBLE), and everybody follows me. Back to you, Anderson. Enjoy Times Square.

COOPER: Hey, Sean, how does that actually -- I don't know if you can hear me. How does that actually work with a pot of gumbo? It actually drops? What goes on?

CALLEBS: Yes. I think we have a shot of it. It is up on a pole. It is going to actually come down. Believe -- it looks sort of like a pumpkin, a Halloween pumpkin, I don't know. But they say that it's a pot of gumbo. So at midnight Central time, gumbo drops. New Orleans explodes and they have something to cheer about. Something this town really, really needs, Anderson.

COOPER: It certainly does. There is so much left to be done in New Orleans. But they have come a long way. And the spirit is there, as you can tell in the crowd. Sean, we'll check in with you shortly, ringing in the New Year in New Orleans. Next, we move on to Texas. Hill country, Rick Sanchez who is at Celebrate San Antonio.

Rick, how's the party going there?

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson Cooper, you big New York honcho you. I have got to tell you something, the people here in Texas know you and they want you to know that they can party here just like they're partying right now in New York, 250,000 people are here in San Antonio. This is like party central for the State of Texas. Certainly as far as New Year's Eve celebrations go. This place is going nuts.

By the way, you see that thing behind me right there? That's the Tower of the Americas and right at midnight, that thing's going to turn in 2007, 17 minutes worth of fireworks is going to be shot off. It's nuts. And we are going to be bringing it to you from out here live. Anderson, back at you.

COOPER: And, Rick, I love the woman behind you in the giant hat. She's got like a giant sombrero on, over your left shoulder.

SANCHEZ: They'll be happy to know that. By the way, I'm getting pelted. You'd think we're in New Orleans. They're throwing beads from the Fairmont Hotel. More on that a little bit later, too.

COOPER: All right. Rick, thanks. Coming up, the winner of our 2006 "Keeping Them Honest" vote will join me live here in Times Square, a remarkable man who did a lot for his community. Keep it right here. We are also checking out the celebrations out West where they are still waiting for midnight in Las Vegas. Lionel Richie is going to sing one of his biggest hits, "All Night Long." Gary Tuchman is right now in Central Park. Let's check in with him.

Gary, how are you doing in the Fun Run?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I'm at two miles so far. It's a four-mile race, and I have to break some news to you, I'm not going to win this race with 5,000 people. But I'm going to finish. I think I can do that. We'll have more on this race when we come back.

COOPER: We have got the same time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll do the talking, (INAUDIBLE). Happy New Year!

COOPER: He can't hear me. All right. We'll check in Gary with later on. Man, I don't envy him that assignment. Hey, we'll be right back. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Some of the memories of this past year. It is hard to believe from where we stand here in Times Square, but according to hotwired.com, Chicago is the number one New Year's Eve destination here in the U.S. this year. What's so special about Chicago, you might wonder. Well, Robin Meade is there, anchor of "Robin & Company" on HEADLINE NEWS.

Robin, hard to believe given the party here, but it looks you all are having a good time there.

MEADE: Yes. I think we are having a good time. We don't have the million people in the street that you have, Anderson. But we were kind of asking around. I wanted to get a feel for the difference between New Year's Eve Chicago and New Year's Eve, New York. So, it's one of those deals where it's all about the bars and the ballrooms like this, and the Bears tonight because they were playing in downtown. So just one of the reasons why a lot of people here say, hey buddy!

(YELLING, CROSSTALK)

MEADE: Obviously, so let's ask them. What's the difference in your opinion between New Year's Eve in Chicago and New Year's Eve in New York?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know how to dance. And we got it down.

MEADE: See, Anderson, I guess she knows how to dance. So what's the difference between the two cities' New Year's Eve celebration?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got an hour on New York! Woo!

MEADE: You what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got an hour!

MEADE: You're louder? Yes. You are louder than New York! OK. What's the difference between partying here and partying in New York for New Year's Eve?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the home of comedy. It's fantastically smashing here, baby.

MEADE: OK. You know, one difference is an hour, obviously. Time-wise. What do you think? Why are you here and not in New York? Because Chicago was the number one destination for travelers for New Year's Eve.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we have a winning football team, woo, the Bears!

MEADE: Hey, little does she know the Bears lost tonight. Shhh. Let's not tell her. What do you think is the difference between New Year's Eve in Chicago, New Year's Eve in New York? You know it's a big deal there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We have got a better hospitality than New York.

MEADE: Oh, I don't know. They do pretty well. Don't you think so?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.

MEADE: OK. One more shout for Chicago. Oh, they don't want to shout. OK. There's a difference, I guess. I think it's all spread out and that's the difference between the party here and where you are, Mr. Anderson.

COOPER: Robin, I think you have the makings of a "Girls Gone Wild" video right there. But I think we're going to cut away before any of that stuff happens. You had better get out of there before that happens. Robin we'll check in with you shortly as we ring in the New Year's in Chicago and New Orleans and San Antonio in the Central time zone.

On "AC 360" we make a point of trying to cut through bureaucratic double-speak and hold elected officials accountable for their words and their actions. We call the segment "Keeping Them Honest." Well, last week our cnn.com Web site profiled four people who have been keeping them honest in their own lives and their communities.

Ini Nava (ph) founded the group Video the Vote (ph) to help make sure elections are conducted fairly. Tonya Harris (ph) has been instrumental in helping bring New Orleans' devastated Ninth Ward back to life after Hurricane Katrina. Fourteen-year-old Sidney Mercer took on the Transportation Security Administration for putting diabetics' lives in jeopardy by insisting on X-raying their insulin supplies, which made the insulin useless. She got a change in policy. And Richard Bernstein (ph) not only decided to fight Detroit city hall, he won. He's a remarkable man. He is blind. You are about to meet him. Thousands of you watched their stories and voted on our Web site. And the winner of this year's "Keeping Them Honest" award is Richard Bernstein. He joins me now.

Richard, it is so nice to have you here.

RICHARD BERNSTEIN, "KEEPING THEM HONEST" AWARD WINNER: Oh, Anderson, it is such a pleasure to be with you. And thank you for doing this segment that you do. It really has the potential to affect a lot of people and truly change lives.

COOPER: Tell the folks who didn't see the piece, and you can see it on our Web site, what was it that you did? What were you fighting for in your community?

BERNSTEIN: Well, ultimately the whole essence of the disability movement is to have independence, is to have a sense of equality in life. So we had to take on the mayor of the City of Detroit, because you had wheelchair users all throughout the city who were waiting nine to 10 to 11 hours. It was often common that wheelchair users would spend entire evenings in bus shelters.

And ultimately, Anderson, when they would plead with the city for help, the city would send them back these little comment cards saying, thank you so much for your interest in DDOT. So ultimately, I've been blessed and there's an old adage that I've believed in that says, to whom much is given, much is expected. And I've been blessed with the ability to take on this challenge and we were able to represent those people and fight for those folks.

And thankfully what ultimately happened in this case as it went on for two-and-a-half years, but I have tremendous appreciation and thanks for the U.S. Department of Justice, who intervened on our case. And now the City of Detroit Department of Transportation is under the supervision of the United States Department of Justice. And that's changed the lives of thousands and thousands of wheelchair users throughout our city.

COOPER: And you continue to work for the benefit of the disabled in your community and communities throughout the United States, and our viewers are really so overwhelmed and moved. We got so many e- mails just thanking you for what you did and what, frankly, all the other people did. And I know you voted for all the other folks in the "Keeping Them Honest" contest, which shows the kind of guy you are. But we just want to thank you for coming in and it's a real honor to meet you.

BERNSTEIN: Well, Anderson, it's a pleasure to be with you. I hope what your audience will always take from this is that the greatest blessing of life can often be adversity and challenge, because with adversity and challenge comes a sense of purpose. With purpose comes passion. And with passion comes the ability to connect with people. And that's what makes life such an incredible experience.

COOPER: Well said, and I know you're competing in the Ironman competition coming up, good luck. Maybe some day you can give me some running tips. Because I'm in awe that you can do that, that anyone can do that. But it's remarkable to meet you. It's a real honor.

BERNSTEIN: And thank you for this segment.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: All the best. All right. Have a great time in New York.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, speaking of running, Gary Tuchman is running literally right now his way into 2007. He is taking part in the four- mile midnight run over in Central Park. We've got him wired up.

Gary, how are you holding up? How's the run going?

TUCHMAN: Anderson, I feel like I've been running all year. And actually, I have. (AUDIO GAP)

TUCHMAN: ... four-mile race in 2007. A lucky number. What is...

(AUDIO GAP)

COOPER: We are obviously having some technical problems with Gary. But it's amazing, he continues to run and God bless 'em, man. We're going to check in with him a little bit later on. How would you like to have that assignment? New Year's Eve, oh yes, why don't you go run? Have a Fun Run in Central Park.

We have got a lot more partying to cover. I can't believe I just did that, actually. Frankly, I always said I never would. Not just here in Times Square, still ahead, we will also take you live to Los Vegas where Lionel Richie will play his hit song "All Night Long." We'll head down to a Texas-size party in San Antonio, Rick Sanchez is with the crowd near the city's famous Riverwalk. Sean Callebs joins us live from the gumbo drop in New Orleans. And the Crescent City continues its slow comeback from Hurricane Katrina. And check out these I-Party pictures from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. They were sent in by Coco Mueller (ph) who said she always "AC 360." We thank you there.

And, send your pictures of your celebration right now. We are still on the air for another 30-40 minutes. Plenty of time. Send your pictures on your celebration to cnn.com/iparty and we'll put them on as long as you're wearing some clothes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. My name is Sergeant Ashley Crawford from Bakersfield, California. I just want to say hi and happy holidays to my friends and family at home, here from Mosul, Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Just one of the many service members who have been watching these celebrations here in New York. We saw for some other folks in Iraq watching the celebration, some Marines watching it live.

New Orleans, of course, has spent a lot of this past year trying to clean up the mess left by Hurricane Katrina. We all know there's a long way to go. But there are also some unexpected victories to celebrate, like the NFL's New Orleans Saints making the playoffs. Sean Callebs is celebrating right now I think in Jackson Square.

Sean, how's it going down there?

CALLEBS: Yes. We are in Jackson Square. Anderson, we are having a great time. And all I've got to do is say "New Orleans Saints" and this city explodes. If you look around me, you'll see some people are going to waving Ws. A lot of Notre Dame fans are in town right now. Sugar Bowl is back in New Orleans at the Superdome this year. Of course, it was washed out last year by Hurricane Katrina, moved up the road to Atlanta for that one year. But there you hear the Notre Dame faithful. They're going nuts.

On stage right now, Trombone Shorty, Troy Andrews and his band, a bunch of young, talented musicians who are from this city and really exemplify what the city is all about.

The odd thing, Anderson, if you come here, you can really spend a whole week here and never know the storm hit in the French Quarter, the uptown area, the hotels, the casino. But if you get out in the areas like the Lower Ninth Ward, then you know the storm is never far from anybody's mind.

But right now, the city just wants to have a good time. Another half hour or so, and that pot of gumbo that's up on top of Jack's Brewery is going to be coming down. It is going to be a great moment for the people of the city. They want to put 2006 behind them. They want to look toward 2007 and maybe, maybe, Anderson, some rebuilding will start here this year. Because it is really, really what the city needs.

COOPER: It certainly does. A lot of rebuilding still needed. A lot of decisions still need to be made. We will continue to cover it all through this year. We will also, of course, more immediately cover that ball drop -- that gumbo drop, I should say, 25 minutes from now.

Also, Robin Meade in Chicago, also Rick Sanchez in San Antonio. The parties all across the United States still continuing. Lionel Richie is ringing in and singing in the New Year at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. His ninth solo album "Coming Home" came out in 2006. He has received a couple of Grammy nominations. Right now though he's going to do one of his all-time biggest hits for us, "All Night Long."

Take it away.

LIONEL RICHIE, SINGER: Happy New Year, CNN! Want to do a little "All Night Long"? Come on, everybody! Everybody!

(MUSIC PLAYING, "ALL NIGHT LONG")

COOPER: And Lionel Richie singing "All Night Long." Keep it right here. We have got a lot more ahead. We have got some 22 minutes 30 seconds before the Central time zone of the United States ringing in the New Year. In a minute, we're going to hear music from The Killers. Stay with us, NEW YEAR'S LIVE continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're less than a minute away here in Paris, France, but the celebrating has already begun to bring in 2007. I'm Jim Bittermann. And I'm going to get out of the picture here so I can show you what's been going on here along the Champs- Elysees for the last hour or so. They have closed down the avenue and people have gathered here. There are no official celebrations in Paris this year. And, there are no official fireworks either. Although we are seeing some fireworks going off because right now the Eiffel Tower is lit and that is indicating the New Year is with us. You can hear the reaction of the crowd.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And that was the scene in Paris, France. Let's go down to Kyra Phillips who is down in the crowd here in Times Square.

Kyra, it seems like there's still a lot of people here.

PHILLIPS: Yes. You know what, just when you thought everybody was cleaning up and getting ready to go home, check this out.

(YELLING)

PHILLIPS: I guess it never ends in New York. But I found myself a little partner right here. Tell me your name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tristan (ph).

PHILLIPS: Tristan (ph), did you have fun, Tristan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

PHILLIPS: Yes? And how late did you get to stay out tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. Probably later.

PHILLIPS: Yes. And what are you going to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.

PHILLIPS: No? What are you going to do in 2007? What is something you promise, to be a good boy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

PHILLIPS: Yes, what else?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's pretty much it.

PHILLIPS: That's a tough task, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

PHILLIPS: All right. Happy New Year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You, too.

PHILLIPS: All right. So hopefully...

(YELLING) PHILLIPS: Hopefully we can do this again next year, Anderson. Happy New Year. It was great being a part of this show. A lot of great memories in the past 12 months.

COOPER: Hey, Kyra, you did an amazing, amazing job and thanks. Definitely hope you can do it again next year. It is not easy working that crowd. And Kyra did an amazing job with it. The biggest party in Texas tonight is in downtown San Antonio, Rick Sanchez joins us from the city's historic Fairmont Hotel which has a unique in the Guinness Book of Records -- Rick.

COOPER: Hey, Rick, I don't know if you can hear me...

SANCHEZ: Hey, Anderson. Sorry about that. Yes, I can. I can. Sorry. All of a sudden they just started talking over here. There is 250,000 people here. It's tough to hear, I got -- you and I have done a lot of live shots over the last year but I don't think I've ever done one surrounded by so many people. We moved up to the balcony. That's where we are now. This is the Fairmont Hotel. It is the landmark for San Antonio, aside from the Alamo, of course.

But when people gather, they gather here. This thing was built in 1906 but they had to move it. According to Guinness, it is the heaviest building ever moved in the United States. 3,200,000 pounds of building that had to be moved. But there is something particular about this building that I know you are going to like.

To show it to you, though, we are going to have to go inside. Curt (ph), take the camera, let's meet Anderson down at the lobby. And I'm going to show him exactly what we're talking about. We're going to give you a bird's eye view, I'm walking through this building now, Anderson, of what it looks like.

I hope I'm making the right turns here. And we are going to show you when we get downstairs exactly what we are talking about. There's a lot of people in this building. And I'm meeting Curt down stairs and then we're walking you over to the lobby. There I am. You got me, Curt? All right. Here we go. Hi, guys. How are you? Say hi to Anderson Cooper. There. See? I told you they love you.

All right. We are going over here and I'm going to show you the most important --- wait. Back this way. This is the most important guest here. This is Luke (ph). This is actually the concierge of this hotel if you can believe that, Anderson. His name is Luke Tips (ph). He has been here for quite a long time and he loves when you give him these treats. In fact, I have his business card.

Are you ready? Here's what it says. "Luke Tips, director of pet relations." He's so famous in San Antonio, people come to the hotel just to be around him. And if you have a pet at home but you happen to be staying in a hotel, he'll stay in your room. And all you have got to do is pay a little extra and give a donation to the Humane Society or something. Cool, huh? Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Oh, that is amazing. That is great. You can have him stay in your room. I'll stay there just for that. Rick, we'll check in with you. We've got 15 minutes -- just under 16 minutes until the New Year there in San Antonio. CNN's Gary Tuchman is literally racing his way into 2007. He's over in Central Park, about a mile from here, doing the midnight run in Central Park.

Gary, how are you holding up?

TUCHMAN: Good timing, Anderson. We are nearing the finish line. We made it. Four miles. Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New York.

TUCHMAN: New York. Enjoying the race?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

TUCHMAN: All right. Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New York.

TUCHMAN: All right. Two New Yorkers. People from all over the world. The New York Road Runners sponsors this race, it starts at midnight -- the stroke of midnight. Right now, I have got 12:42. And here's the finish line. Right over here. Anderson, I made it. I promised you I'd make it and I made it. Back to you.

COOPER: Gary Tuchman, amazing, amazing, very well done. Everyone here is applauding, the whole crew. How long was the run?

TUCHMAN: A round of applause, these are all the finishers, too. That's what I mean.

COOPER: Gary, how long was that run?

TUCHMAN: Elvis is right here. From Memphis, Tennessee, folks. Anderson, back to you. Happy New Year.

COOPER: All right. Gary, happy New Year. Man, take a break. Get some rest. We have got cameras around the country, around the globe tonight. We have got 14 minutes before they ring in the New Year in the Central time zones. Don't go away. In just a few minutes we'll hear from The Killers. They're getting ready to perform. Then we'll go live to Chicago's Navy Pier where they're getting ready to celebrate the start of 2007 with, among other things, a huge fireworks show. And we'll head to the South to the French Quarter of New Orleans, to Jackson Square to be specific, Sean Callebs just outside Jackson Square. All ahead. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EUNICE YOON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hong Kong's quintessential skyline couldn't be any more beautiful tonight as hundreds of thousands of people gathered here to celebrate the New Year. I'm Eunice Yoon at Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong where 2007 is expected to be an especially momentous year. Mainly because it's a 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China. Back then people were gloomy mainly because they were concerned about the economy at that time. But today, Hong Kong is on a high where people are celebrating all over the city with festivals as well as other events. Here we go. The countdown at this time is hitting it at 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three two, one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And that is the celebration in Hong Kong. It is just 11 minutes before 2007 reaches the Central time zone in the United States. This is what Times Square looks like right now as seen by our camera person on the roof of the Marriott Marquis. That was the shot behind me. We have got a lot more music to take us into the New Year. They are trying to clean up here in Times Square right now. But there are still celebrations we are covering coming up in about 10 minutes in New Orleans and Chicago and San Antonio and elsewhere.

We're going to go live to Los Angeles where the Grammy-nominated band The Killers is headlining "Gridlock L.A." at the Paramount Studios. Their latest album is "Sam's Town." Here they are with "Read My Mind."

BRANDON FLOWERS, SINGER, THE KILLERS: Hello, Anderson. From the sons of Las Vegas here, we're The Killers. Happy New Year.

(MUSIC PLAYING, "READ MY MIND")

COOPER: And you are listening to The Killers performing "Read My Mind." Eight minutes left to go before New Year's hits the Central time zone of the United States. Don't go to bed just yet. We are minutes away from midnight in the Midwest and Gulf Coast, ringing the New Year in New Orleans, San Antonio, and Chicago. Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SNOOP DOGG, RAPPER: What's happening? This is big Snoop Dogg, wishing you all a happy New Year. Anderson Cooper, CNN, big Snoop D- O-double-G, 2007 here we come.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Ah, the old big Snoop D-O-double-G. Thank you, Snoop Dogg. I'm not sure what to make of that. It is four minutes 40 seconds before ringing in the New Year in Chicago, in -- where else, San Antonio, also in New Orleans. All our folks at Harpo (ph) are watching. We want to wish them a happy New Year, as well. Let's check in with Gary Tuchman who just finished his Fun Run, the traditional midnight run in Central Park.

Gary, you're still breathing, you're ambulatory, that's a good sign.

TUCHMAN: Anderson, I've told you, I'm an avid rollerblader. I've been rollerblading for 16 years, but I've never run a road race before. So it's a great feeling to be at the finish line of a four- mile race. This very famous Central Park race. Starts at the stroke of midnight. You feel like you can conquer the world when you start running at the beginning of the year and you finish.

And, Anderson, want I want to tell you, something very important. The president of the New York Road Runners, the organization that holds this race, has issued you a personal challenge. They want you to run in the New York City Marathon next November. So keep that in mind, Anderson Cooper. The whole world knows.

COOPER: Wow, yikes.

TUCHMAN: Now, if you can still hear me, if you can still hear me, these are the ladies I talked to at the beginning of the show. They won the second place in the best costume contest, won $500 as Santa's reindeer. And they all finished the race. And better yet, just like Santa's reindeer, they were all together when they came to the finish line.

How does it feel, ladies?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excellent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are so proud. We did it all together.

TUCHMAN: Congratulations Rudolph and ladies. We had a fun run during this Fun Run in Central Park, great way to start 2007. Anderson, back to you. Happy New Year.

COOPER: I don't know. You're making me nervous. This challenge here for the -- running the marathon. I'm not sure I'm up for that. I have got a bad back. I'm getting old. But we'll see. Gary, thanks.

We have got to -- we are following events in Chicago and San Antonio. In New Orleans, we have got three minutes before ringing in the New Year there. Let's go back to -- well, let's go back to 2006, 2007 here in New York. Rick Sanchez is out in the crowd in San Antonio at Celebrate San Antonio.

Rick, 2:52 left to go.

SANCHEZ: They're excited here, Anderson. By the way, next year, you, me and Tuchman running that marathon in New York, all right? It will be a date. By the way, 60 percent of the people who live here in San Antonio are Hispanic. So obviously this thing has very much a Hispanic theme. We have got some mariachis behind me, they have been running around this place like crazy, too.

But this is something we really wanted to show you. This is an egg shell. In Spanish the word is cascara (ph) for shell. This is called a cascarone (ph). And what they do here New Year's Eve just at that magic moment is they take this and they break it on someone's head, someone who's dear to them.

(SPEAKING IN SPANISH)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alejandro (ph).

SANCHEZ: Alejandro. Alejandro will allow me to demonstrate on his head. See? It's a big deal. You know? I mean, it's called a cascarone thing. It's right at midnight. By the way, to take you into the break, here now our friends the mariachis.

Hit it, guys.

COOPER: And it is great to see all of this local, different kinds of celebrations. Got the egg breaking there in San Antonio and the mariachis. We have the drag queen drop in Key West, Florida. We had the ball drop here. Let's go to Chicago, where they are only about 90 seconds away. Robin Meade, anchor of "Robin & Company" on HEADLINE NEWS.

Robin, how's the party going?

MEADE: Yes. The party's going well. There's a couple of hundred thousand people expected down here on the lake front. You are seeing a couple thousand here inside Navy Pier. And in a few minutes, you are going to see a gorgeous shot of the fireworks just off of Navy Pier in Downtown Chicago. And so, I failed to mention that about 50,000 worth of the proceeds from tonight's party here is going to go to the Armed Forces Foundation. So a nice effort by the folks putting on this party here.

We have just a couple of minutes before the actual fireworks happen here. Do you have a New Year's resolution?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me?

MEADE: Do you have a resolution? OK. She can't hear me. Do you have a new year's resolution?

Nobody can hear me. I know Anderson can. We're going to send it back to you. And enjoy the fireworks.

COOPER: They're stunned, they're stunned with the anticipation of the New Year, 30 seconds away. Let's check in with Sean Callebs, ringing in the New Year in New Orleans -- Sean.

SEAN CALLEBS: Yes. Right now, we've traded in the music for a bunch of politicians on stage. Somewhat disappointing. But the crowd is still getting into it. The ball of gumbo is going to drop now pretty soon now. And so everybody is sitting here for (INAUDIBLE) of the evening, really enjoying it as much as they can. Let's watch it come down. The crowd here, Jackson Square, has just been a great time throughout the evening and now they have rung in the New Year. We're just going to take it all in, Anderson. But before I go, I've got to say, the day Rick Sanchez runs a marathon is the day that Robin Meade runs with the bulls in Pamplona. Back to you, Anderson.

COOPER: And you are looking at the various celebrations. Happy New Year to all those in the Gulf Coast and the Central time zone, the American. San Antonio there, and New Orleans and Chicago. Celebrations around America. Let's just watch and listen.

Hearing some of the mariachis in San Antonio there. Pictures from Oklahoma City, the fireworks celebrations. You're also seeing Chicago. You saw New Orleans earlier. Parties around America.

Robin, how are you doing in Chicago? Happy New Year, Robin.

MEADE: Happy New Year now that we have just arrived in '07. But you were there an hour earlier. Can you hear how loud it is here? Let me show you. Anderson, I don't know if you guys can see the beautiful fireworks outside, but those are going off, too. These people in here don't even realize it because of the couple hundred thousand people outside watching all of those.

Two fireworks shows in Chicago. The one that you're seeing live outside, courtesy of our CNN camera, and another one just kind of down the block by the City of Chicago. Beautiful. Beautiful. Happy New Year's Eve to you.

COOPER: And have a great New Year, Robin. Thanks very much for taking part in our celebrations this year. Let's check in with Sean Callebs.

Sean, happy New Year.

CALLEBS: Hey, Anderson, happy New Year to you, too. Let's hope 2007 is so much better for this city that has seen so much. It seems like it's moving in the right direction. I can tell you the spirit here in Jackson Square is amazing. I should say, keep them honest in 2007. So we hope to see you back down here soon, Anderson. Get down to New Orleans. Back to you.

COOPER: Well, I want to wish a happy New Year to all of my friends in New Orleans, to John Kimble (ph) and all the folks in the New Orleans Police Department, Travis, all the others, happy New Year to all of the citizens in New Orleans who are -- and all the Gulf Coast who are fighting so hard to rebuild their city.

Our coverage continues, though. Where are we going now? Rick Sanchez in San Antonio.

Rick, happy New Year.

SANCHEZ: (INAUDIBLE) Anderson, this is unbelievable to see this. You know,

(AUDIO GAP)

SANCHEZ: ... these guys, we haven't been able to stop them either. But San Antonio's partying. We get 17 minutes of those fireworks. So we've got about another, oh, probably about 13, 12 minutes left of it. Going to watch. Back to you, Anderson.

COOPER: I want to thank Robin and Rick and Sean. Thank you all for ringing in 2007 with us. It has been a great night here. We are not done yet. We have one more performance from the Godfather of Soul. James Brown was supposed to join us tonight but, as you know, passed away on Christmas morning. So we leave you with a special tribute. His performance from last year's New Year's show right here on CNN.

Good night and have a great New Year.

(MUSIC PLAYING, "LIVING IN AMERICA")

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