‘‘This has been a very eventful year, on many levels,’’ Denise Norris said as she and her husband, the Rev. Urie Norris, surveyed the crowd seeking to jam Times Square for a countdown show with Ryan Seacrest as host and musical acts including Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen, Neon Trees, Flo Rida and Pitbull.
About a block away, Army Sgt. Clint Evanoff waited in a black suit, red vest and red tie to get into Times Square with a couple of his friends from his unit at Fort Drum, N.Y. Evanoff, 20, is scheduled to leave for Afghanistan, his first deployment, in about two weeks.
Looking ahead to the new year, ‘‘I'm just hoping to make it back,’’ he said.
Elsewhere, too, hopes for 2013 were a mix of personal and political. In Boston, communications writer and editor Colin O'Brien, 25, said he was optimistic that the nation had realized it was time to make tough decisions about its finances and policy and that there might be ‘‘more common ground than people are willing to admit or accept.’’ In Harrisburg, Pa., warehouse worker Adam Gassner, 43, had more internal goals: ‘‘hoping to continue to get myself back on my feet.’’
Associated Press writers Colleen Long in New York; Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pa.; Jay Lindsay in Boston; Aye Aye Win in Yangon, Myanmar; Rod McGuirk in Sydney; Silvia Hui in London; Ashok Sharma in New Delhi; and Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, contributed to this report.