Honeymooners began married life in Las Vegas, crowds cheered flower-covered floats in the Rose Parade and dozens of string bands strutted their stuff in Philadelphia. It was all part of New Year's Day 1991.
"This is really a different way for me to start off the New Year," said comedian Bob Newhart, the grand marshal of Tuesday's 102nd annual Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, Calif., which featured 60 flower-covered floats over a 5 1/2-mile-long route.Fans of the University of Iowa and the University of Washington football teams, which played each other in the afternoon, cheered wildly as cheerleaders and bands from the universities marched past the crowd.
Millions of Americans watched the Rose Bowl, which Washington won by a score of 46-34, and seven other New Year's Day college bowl games on television.
Rose Parade-watchers started the day wrapped up in sleeping bags and parkas, drinking coffee, trying to keep warm. Temperatures, which were in the 30s in the morning, eventually rose into the 60s.
It was in the 30s, too, in Philadelphia, where organizers of the 91st Mummers Parade said they expected more than 10,000 people to take part in the 2 1/2-mile cakewalk from South Philadelphia to City Hall. Musicians, mimes and regular people in offbeat costumes took part in the parade, which has its roots in centuries-old European celebrations in which men dressed as women, women as men and poor as rich.
Despite the chill, the weather was beautiful compared to 1989. That year, some string bands were booed when they rode buses part of the way to avoid rain and snow.
Even a severe fiscal crisis didn't prevent the city from giving away nearly $300,000 in parade prizes.
Christine Pandola, 16, of South Philadelphia, admired some men wearing pig outfits and a fellow in a rolling bed. "He was gorgeous," she said.
New Year's Day also marked the inauguration of new local, state and federal laws. In fact, liquor sales in some areas were reported up on New Year's Eve as people scrambled to beat Jan. 1 increases on alcohol taxes.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority predicted a record 142,000 visitors welcoming the new year; most hotels reported no vacancies for the four-day weekend.
Hundreds of couples who lined up for marriage licenses on New Year's Eve were honeymooners by Tuesday. New Year's Eve is the second-busiest day for weddings in Las Vegas, surpassed only by Valentine's Day. The city is a marriage mecca because Nevada requires no waiting period and no blood tests.
In Nebraska, all 13 heated cabins at Platte River State Park about 25 miles southwest of Omaha were taken.
"People want to get away from the city - and it's really pretty out here," office manager Lois Kemp said. Guests went sledding and hiking in the park, which is three miles from the nearest town, restaurant or bar, she said.
In Lincoln, Neb., a theater group from Leninabad, Lincoln's sister city in the Soviet Union, arrived without their luggage, but residents rounded up enough traditional costumes to allow the show to go on.
The first hours of 1991 in New York were neither cheerful nor auspicious.
Police reported six homicides and one suspicious death, even as the city awaited a final murder count for 1990 that was certain to be a record. Forty people were murdered between Christmas and New Year's; 14 of the victims died in the last 24 hours of 1990.
Final 1990 figures won't be released until March, but the city's top detective predicted the toll from murder would reach at least 2,200, easily a record for the second year in a row.
In downtown Buffalo, a mob of about 20 to 30 youths randomly attacked and robbed New Year's revelers on Main Street early Tuesday, police said. Two people were injured, and a 16-year-old youth was charged with second-degree assault.