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In Pictures: Then-and-now images show contrast in New Year’s Eve celebrations

Photos show the striking contrast between packed, jubilant crowds in previous years and quiet, empty streets heading into 2021.

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Confetti lies on the street after the New Year’s Eve ball dropped in a nearly empty Times Square in New York early on January 1 2021 (Craig Ruttle/AP)

Confetti lies on the street after the New Year’s Eve ball dropped in a nearly empty Times Square in New York early on January 1 2021 (Craig Ruttle/AP)

Confetti lies on the street after the New Year’s Eve ball dropped in a nearly empty Times Square in New York early on January 1 2021 (Craig Ruttle/AP)

New Year’s Eve celebrations across the globe looked radically different this year as large crowds stayed away from traditional party spots such as New York City’s Times Square and the Champs Elysees in Paris.

The coronavirus that changed so much in 2020 led to cancellations of most fireworks displays and public events in favour of made-for-TV-only moments in cities around the world.

The Associated Press captured then-and-now images of some of these popular locations around the globe to illustrate the striking contrast between jubilant crowds in previous years and deserted streets heading into 2021.

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A combo image showing a general view of the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris very early on New Year’s Day 2021, and the bottom one the same location packed with revellers early on January 1 2020 (Thibault Camus/Christophe Ena/AP)

A combo image showing a general view of the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris very early on New Year’s Day 2021, and the bottom one the same location packed with revellers early on January 1 2020 (Thibault Camus/Christophe Ena/AP)

AP

A combo image showing a general view of the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris very early on New Year’s Day 2021, and the bottom one the same location packed with revellers early on January 1 2020 (Thibault Camus/Christophe Ena/AP)

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This combo of two photos shows an empty Copacabana Beach amid the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, top, contrasted with one year prior, on Jan. 1, 2020, when a crowd watched fireworks on New Year’s at the same location. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

This combo of two photos shows an empty Copacabana Beach amid the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, top, contrasted with one year prior, on Jan. 1, 2020, when a crowd watched fireworks on New Year’s at the same location. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

AP

This combo of two photos shows an empty Copacabana Beach amid the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, top, contrasted with one year prior, on Jan. 1, 2020, when a crowd watched fireworks on New Year’s at the same location. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

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A combo image showing Bosingak pavilion where the place for the annual New Year’s Eve bell-ringing ceremony, the top photo taken on Thursday December 31 2020 and the bottom one on Friday January 1 2018 (Lee Jin-maN/A Ahn Young-joon/AP)

A combo image showing Bosingak pavilion where the place for the annual New Year’s Eve bell-ringing ceremony, the top photo taken on Thursday December 31 2020 and the bottom one on Friday January 1 2018 (Lee Jin-maN/A Ahn Young-joon/AP)

AP

A combo image showing Bosingak pavilion where the place for the annual New Year’s Eve bell-ringing ceremony, the top photo taken on Thursday December 31 2020 and the bottom one on Friday January 1 2018 (Lee Jin-maN/A Ahn Young-joon/AP)

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A combo image showing a general view of the Victoria Harbour at the New Year’s Eve of year 2021 in Hong Kong, the top photo taken on Thursday December 31 2020 and the bottom one on Tuesday January 1 2019 (Kin Cheung/AP)

A combo image showing a general view of the Victoria Harbour at the New Year’s Eve of year 2021 in Hong Kong, the top photo taken on Thursday December 31 2020 and the bottom one on Tuesday January 1 2019 (Kin Cheung/AP)

AP

A combo image showing a general view of the Victoria Harbour at the New Year’s Eve of year 2021 in Hong Kong, the top photo taken on Thursday December 31 2020 and the bottom one on Tuesday January 1 2019 (Kin Cheung/AP)

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This combo image shows at top, police direct visitors around Shibuya crossing, a popular location for New Year’s Eve gathering, Thursday, December 31 2020 in Tokyo, and below, people gather to welcome the arrival of the New Year at the crossing in Tokyo January 1 2020 (Kiichiro Sato and Shohei Miyano/Kyodo News via AP)

This combo image shows at top, police direct visitors around Shibuya crossing, a popular location for New Year’s Eve gathering, Thursday, December 31 2020 in Tokyo, and below, people gather to welcome the arrival of the New Year at the crossing in Tokyo January 1 2020 (Kiichiro Sato and Shohei Miyano/Kyodo News via AP)

AP

This combo image shows at top, police direct visitors around Shibuya crossing, a popular location for New Year’s Eve gathering, Thursday, December 31 2020 in Tokyo, and below, people gather to welcome the arrival of the New Year at the crossing in Tokyo January 1 2020 (Kiichiro Sato and Shohei Miyano/Kyodo News via AP)

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In this combo of images, a few people, on the top image, stand in the plaza in front of the Ottoman-era Mecidiye mosque in Ortakoy square under the “July 15th Martyrs’ bridge, formerly known as Bosporus Bridge, over the Bosporus Strait, separating Europe and Asia, in Istanbul, late Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, where in the bottom image people celebrate the new year at the same spot, early Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

In this combo of images, a few people, on the top image, stand in the plaza in front of the Ottoman-era Mecidiye mosque in Ortakoy square under the “July 15th Martyrs’ bridge, formerly known as Bosporus Bridge, over the Bosporus Strait, separating Europe and Asia, in Istanbul, late Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, where in the bottom image people celebrate the new year at the same spot, early Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

AP

In this combo of images, a few people, on the top image, stand in the plaza in front of the Ottoman-era Mecidiye mosque in Ortakoy square under the “July 15th Martyrs’ bridge, formerly known as Bosporus Bridge, over the Bosporus Strait, separating Europe and Asia, in Istanbul, late Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, where in the bottom image people celebrate the new year at the same spot, early Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

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This combo of images shows at top, a few people walking along Nevsky prospect, central avenue, during New Year celebration in downtown St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, and below, a file photo of the same location packed with people on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

This combo of images shows at top, a few people walking along Nevsky prospect, central avenue, during New Year celebration in downtown St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, and below, a file photo of the same location packed with people on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

AP

This combo of images shows at top, a few people walking along Nevsky prospect, central avenue, during New Year celebration in downtown St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, and below, a file photo of the same location packed with people on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

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This combination image of photos shows people, top, on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, visiting to pray at Sensoji temple in Tokyo a few hours before New Year and the same location, bottom, filled with people waiting in line to pray on Jan. 1 last year. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, Hiro Komae)

This combination image of photos shows people, top, on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, visiting to pray at Sensoji temple in Tokyo a few hours before New Year and the same location, bottom, filled with people waiting in line to pray on Jan. 1 last year. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, Hiro Komae)

AP

This combination image of photos shows people, top, on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, visiting to pray at Sensoji temple in Tokyo a few hours before New Year and the same location, bottom, filled with people waiting in line to pray on Jan. 1 last year. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, Hiro Komae)

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A combo of images shows an almost empty Times Square, top, in the early hours of Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 in New York and the same location taken on Jan. 1, 2020 packed with revelers celebrating the New Year. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Craig Rutte, Ben Hider)

A combo of images shows an almost empty Times Square, top, in the early hours of Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 in New York and the same location taken on Jan. 1, 2020 packed with revelers celebrating the New Year. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Craig Rutte, Ben Hider)

AP

A combo of images shows an almost empty Times Square, top, in the early hours of Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 in New York and the same location taken on Jan. 1, 2020 packed with revelers celebrating the New Year. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Craig Rutte, Ben Hider)

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A combo of images shows fireworks in the first minutes of the New Year on Jan. 1, 2020, bottom, and an image taken from the same location in Dresden, Germany early on Jan. 1, 2021 without fireworks. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (Sebastian Kahnert/DPA via AP)

A combo of images shows fireworks in the first minutes of the New Year on Jan. 1, 2020, bottom, and an image taken from the same location in Dresden, Germany early on Jan. 1, 2021 without fireworks. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (Sebastian Kahnert/DPA via AP)

AP

A combo of images shows fireworks in the first minutes of the New Year on Jan. 1, 2020, bottom, and an image taken from the same location in Dresden, Germany early on Jan. 1, 2021 without fireworks. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (Sebastian Kahnert/DPA via AP)

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This combination photograph shows a handful of people in front of the iconic Gateway of India, top, a popular place to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, as compared to a file photograph of a crowd celebrating on Dec. 31, 2019. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, Rajanish Kakade)

This combination photograph shows a handful of people in front of the iconic Gateway of India, top, a popular place to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, as compared to a file photograph of a crowd celebrating on Dec. 31, 2019. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, Rajanish Kakade)

AP

This combination photograph shows a handful of people in front of the iconic Gateway of India, top, a popular place to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, as compared to a file photograph of a crowd celebrating on Dec. 31, 2019. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, Rajanish Kakade)

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This combo image shows at top fireworks exploding over the Kremlin and the Spasskaya Tower with St. Basil’s Cathedral at left in an almost empty Red Square during New Year’s celebrations in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020 and below, a file photo taken from the same angle during New Year’s celebrations on Dec. 31, 2019. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, Denis Tyrin)

This combo image shows at top fireworks exploding over the Kremlin and the Spasskaya Tower with St. Basil’s Cathedral at left in an almost empty Red Square during New Year’s celebrations in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020 and below, a file photo taken from the same angle during New Year’s celebrations on Dec. 31, 2019. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, Denis Tyrin)

AP

This combo image shows at top fireworks exploding over the Kremlin and the Spasskaya Tower with St. Basil’s Cathedral at left in an almost empty Red Square during New Year’s celebrations in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020 and below, a file photo taken from the same angle during New Year’s celebrations on Dec. 31, 2019. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, Denis Tyrin)

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This combo image shows Colle Oppio hill overlooking Rome’s Colosseum, a popular spot for New Year’s Eve celebrations, as seen in the first minutes of Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, top photo, and Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2018, bottom photo. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

This combo image shows Colle Oppio hill overlooking Rome’s Colosseum, a popular spot for New Year’s Eve celebrations, as seen in the first minutes of Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, top photo, and Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2018, bottom photo. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

AP

This combo image shows Colle Oppio hill overlooking Rome’s Colosseum, a popular spot for New Year’s Eve celebrations, as seen in the first minutes of Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, top photo, and Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2018, bottom photo. As the world says goodbye to 2020, there will be countdowns and live performances, but no massed jubilant crowds in traditional gathering spots like the Champs Elysees in Paris and New York City’s Times Square this New Year’s Eve. The virus that ruined 2020 has led to cancelations of most fireworks displays and public events in favor of made-for-TV-only moments in party spots like London and Rio de Janeiro (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

PA


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