when you just have to be in the heart of the action
A surprising number of major cities--Moscow, Rome, Washington, and Tokyo among them--haven't set their plans yet, but others are gearing up for major bashes.
A pyrotechnic display will explode over the Brandenburg Gate. The surrounding Mitte district, dense with nightclubs, galleries, restaurants, and cafés, will also have special events. A Feuerzauber (fire magic) gala is planned for the airfield at Tempelhof Airport.
Topping the regular action on the Strip is going to be tough: in this town, no one blinks twice at albino tigers or million-dollar jackpots, and New Year's usually involves the demolition of a building. The Fremont Street Experience, however, will try to outdo it all. The thoroughfare will be blocked to traffic so tens of thousands of people can watch a countdown show involving 2 million lights.
Opening at Greenwich on the last day of 1999, the 181-acre Millennium Experience (a world's fair sort of thing) will celebrate its location on the world's Prime Meridian. The International Time Standard is also based there, with a massive exhibition and arena under a 20-acre dome. Impresario Cameron Mackintosh (Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera) will produce the inaugural extravaganza. Closer to London, you can ride on the Millennium Wheel, a 500-foot observation wheel on the Thames. À la Times Square, there will be the usual huge gathering in Trafalgar Square.
The "Big Orange" will rise to the top of the Hotel Inter-Continental as 100,000 people cram into Bay Front Park to watch a mammoth fireworks and laser show, accompanied by live music.
Times Square is, naturally, ground zero. Giant screens will broadcast celebration images from each of the globe's 24 time zones, starting with Fiji at 7 a.m. until that ball drops from One Times Square. Expect a half-million partygoers to flood Broadway. Over by the Hudson, Celebration 2000 will host "The Party of the Century"--a massive dinner dance, followed by fireworks--at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
The countdown clock on the Eiffel Tower, ticking away right now, is sure to draw a crowd in its last few hours. But if New Millennium's Eve is like other New Year's Eves, Parisians will be popping champagne corks on the Place de la Concorde. Also, the banks of the Seine will be lit up.
Rio is tossing a beach party. Multiple stages on Copacabana and Ipanema will be the setting for concerts as well as five fireworks shows. Streets will be blocked to traffic. Dress code: bikinis and glitter.
The Bay Area's biggest New Year's bash is usually the one at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. In 1999, "SFNYE" should out-blast years past with several tents where celebrants can dance and listen to comedy acts and musicians. Also on tap: big-screen televisions to monitor celebrations in other cities, hors d'oeuvres, a champagne toast, and a balloon drop at midnight.
The Space Needle has been booked for a private party since 1991, but that won't stop revelers from flocking to the adjacent Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater. The Needle will turn into a 605-foot-tall sparkler as musically enhanced fireworks explode in the sky.
Ric Birch, the man behind the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Summer Olympics, is masterminding Sydney's millennium event. The world's first major city to enter the new millennium, Sydney celebrate with a fireworks extravaganza over the harbor.