Nation’s Capital Seeks To Rival New York’s New Year’s Celebration
WASHINGTON (AP) _ New Year’s Eve revelers in the nation’s capital ushered in 1986 with a celebration complete with fireworks, rock ‘n’ roll, bells and the lowering of a giant stamp at midnight.
″This is where the party’s at,″ declared Jim Sines, who drove 30 miles in the rain to join in the third New Year’s Eve bash at the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Mall.
Some 30,000 people were gathered outside the Pavillion by 10:30 p.m., according to District of Columbia police, and thousands more squeezed together inside the building.
While the size of the crowd was not expected to rival that at New York’s Times Square, Mayor Marion Barry Jr. said those attending the city-sponsored celebration would have just as much fun as their counterparts in the Big Apple - if not more.
″Times Square has more of a history, tradition. But we’re gaining on them,″ Barry said. ″We’re going to outdo New York. We think we might just take over and become the best and single event.″
Outside the Pavilion a young crowd in front of the stage danced to rock music. Inside, a older crowd, many in suits and some in tuxedos, enjoyed cool jazz in a big ballroom.
This year’s celebration, dubbed ″Putting on the Glitz in 1986,″ featured veteran showman Cab Calloway and James Brown, the ″Godfather of Soul.″ The Boston-based Del Fuegos band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band from New Orleans and several local groups performed, and another band played in a shopping mall a few blocks away.
The climax of the celebration, as in previous years, was the lowering of an illuminated, 900-pound replica of the 1986 ″Love″ stamp from the clock tower of what once was the city’s main post office. At midnight, fireworks soared over the pavilion as the tower bells rang in 1986.
″We’re just saying Washington, D.C., is the place to be on New Year’s Eve,″ said Brian Tate, assistant to the director of the Mayor’s Committee to Promote Washington.