Blue and gold fireworks soared into the sky above the Sydney Opera House as they do every New Year’s Eve, but the harbour below was a deserted ghost town, a fittingly creepy send-off for a year that will not be missed.
No light show was to illuminate Beijing from the top of the TV tower. The lions of London’s Trafalgar Square were barricaded off, as was Red Square in Moscow and Madrid’s Puerta del Sol. In Rome, crowds would not assemble in St Peter’s, the Pope would lead no Mass, and revelers would not make their yearly dive into the Tiber.
Good riddance, 2020. Hello, 2021.
Some cities planned, like Sydney, to launch fireworks over empty streets. Others, such as London and Singapore, just called their displays off. Paris, Rome and Istanbul were under curfew.
The New Year’s Eve countdown ball was set to drop on Broadway. But in place of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers jammed shoulder-to-shoulder in Times Square, the audience would be a pre-selected group of nurses,…