WASHINGTON -- People all across the world rang in the New Year Thursday night with spectacular celebrations.
Many Americans have high hopes for 2010 after weathering a tumultuous 2009 marred by terror attacks, war and one of the worst economic recessions in history.
Pomp and Circumstance
New Zealand was the first to ring in the New Year followed by Australia and Taipei, Taiwan. Incredible fireworks displays and computerized light show dazzled the thousands of revelers.
The celebrations continued in Moscow's Red Square, Paris, London and in Rio de Janeiro. "I have many wishes for 2010!" exclaimed Ramona Vlada, 28, of Romania. "I wish to be healthy, love and to be loved at the same time, be with the family and make a family even bigger."
However, the grandest celebration of all took place at the crossroads of the world -- New York City's Times Square where Dick Clark counted down the famous ball drop.
Later the celebrations continued at Chicago's Navy Pier, the Las Vegas Strip and over the Space Needle in Seattle.
Americans Hope for a Sunnier 2010
As Americans bid farewell to 2009, they're leaving behind what most believe to be a very bad year.
After a year plagued by a dismal economy, high unemployment, and unprecedented home foreclosures, for many, 2010 can only get better.
"This decade's over. Let's get a better one going," said Fraley, 56, who lost his job as a supermarket liquor clerk in March.
According to a recent Associated Press- GFK poll, 82 percent of people are optimistic about what the new year holds in store for their families.
Such figures are encouraging since the poll also found 63 percent believe their family finances will worsen or stay the same this year. Less than half, 46 percent, think the nation's economy will improve in 2010.
"Nothing seems to be going well," said John O'Donnell, of Hazleton, Pa. "People are losing their lives overseas. People are unemployed. It doesn't seem like it's about to end soon."
Still, for some Americans 2009 wasn't so bad with three in five polled saying their families had a good year.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "If you put it in the context of what people are suffering around the world, we're in very good shape."