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New Year's Cleanup Clears Remains of Massive Times Square Party

By Andrea Swalec | January 1, 2013 12:33pm

TIMES SQUARE — The manager of the Swatch store in Times Square started his New Year's morning by sweeping up broken champagne glasses and confetti that made their way past the shop's metal grate.

It could have been worse — last year workers at the Seventh Avenue and 45th Street store cleaned vomit off the windows of the store.

"Thank God it wasn't that bad this year," the manager, Sal Gonzalez, said.

Cleanup crews at the Crosswords of the World worked on overdrive as soon as the ball dropped early Tuesday morning, thanks to an army of 151 sanitation workers.

Workers started sweeping up trash and a ton of confetti just minutes after midnight, with intensive cleaning beginning just before 2 a.m., a Department of Sanitation spokesman said. The massive operation, which was comparable to last year's effort, used 24 mechanical sweepers, 22 garbage trucks and 37 leaf blowers.

The trash removed Tuesday still needed to be weighed as of late Tuesday morning, but last year crews removed 50 tons of debris.

"It's amazing how a party that large that generates so much litter can get cleaned up so fast," the sanitation department spokesman said.

Baltimore resident Tabon Stewart, 26, said Tuesday morning he was impressed with how quickly workers had cleaned up the remains of the festivities.

"Last night was ridiculous," said Stewart. "There was just so much noise and trash."

A 15-year sanitation department veteran taking a break New Year's morning from sweeping up confetti said the massive mess is just business as usual.

"By the time we're done, it's going to be like nothing happened here," he said.