There were countdowns and live performances, but New Year’s Eve celebrations across the globe looked radically different this year as large crowds stayed away from traditional party spots like 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 favor 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 packed, jubilant crowds in previous years and quiet, empty streets heading into 2021.
In South Korea, Seoul’s city government canceled its annual New Year’s Eve bell-ringing ceremony in the Jongno neighborhood for the first time since the event was first held in 1953, months after the end of the Korean War.
And in Tokyo, the Maiji Jingu Shinto shrine, which traditionally attracts millions of people every year during New Year holidays, closed its doors on New Year’s Eve night for the first time in 74 years.