Singapore’s 2009 New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Walking through CitiLink Mall to the Esplanade area was a minor nightmare.  The place was jam packed with people.  After we finished our dinner at ‘New York, New York’ we took a break at the restroom and then braved the crowds.  It wasn’t too bad until we got to the escalator that goes down, where the sign that says Esplanade is.  There was a HUGE crowd down there and it only got worse.  The pictures are a bit out of order but they’re just to give you an idea of the size of the crowds.  In them you can see the busted escalator on the left side.  Notice the people looking back behind them as the escalator slowly moves down instead of up.

Part of the problem was that some of the escalators were broken.  So many people were trying to use them at once that a few of them gave out and started to slowly go backwards, which could have caused injuries.  Security guards and eventually police officers showed up to help direct people around the broken escalators.  We used the stairs mostly.  As we got to the top of the stairs in the above photo, the security guard at the top started telling people to come up one at a time so the escalator wouldn’t go backwards.  I guess if too many people got on it the weight would make it move.  One at a time?  Better to just use the stairs.

All of these photos are from areas that are underground.  CitiLink Mall itself is underground if you’re not familiar with it.  By the time we got to the top of the last flight of stairs I was damned glad to see the sky over my head again.  Not to mention it was a lot cooler.  With so many people down there it was hot and sweaty and… smelly.

New Year's Eve 09 - 020

New Year's Eve 09 - 021

When we got to the escalators that open onto Esplanade Waterfront we found it barricaded.  Apparently that area had already filled completely and we had to find an alternative.  Luckily, following the crowd worked this time.  There wasn’t much choice either.  With the massive flow of people the only reasonable way to go was to the exit by Esplanade Park or down into the MRT station.

New Year's Eve 09 - 023

New Year's Eve 09 - 024

When we got up to the park we wandered around a bit and I wound up using the “Maps” app on my iPhone so we could get our bearings.  We’d never even been down there.  I want to go again during the day when there are less people.  It looks like a nice part of Singapore.

We almost walked down into the park, but I saw some people moving on the bridge through the trees so we doubled back and walked up there.  I figured it would be better to have a higher vantage point.  If we staid in the park the bridge would have obstructed part of our view.  Later I looked at the park behind where we ended up sitting and saw that it was completely packed out with people.  The small bridge between the park and the Fullerton Hotel area was packed too.

We did try to get over towards Fullerton One, as per Mr. Brown’s instructions in his video about where to find the best free spots to view the show, but it was blocked off.  The area wasn’t as full as the bridge we were on but I guess it was full enough that they didn’t want any more people there.  So, we doubled back and wound up sitting on the guard rail on the far side of the bridge from where the fireworks were being shown.

It proved to be a great spot after all.  We had a good view and I didn’t have to move my camera back and forth too much to capture all of the fireworks on video.

Speaking of the video, here it is, for your viewing pleasure!

I thought they did a pretty good job with the fireworks.  It was the first time I’d seen any in person since I was a kid in New York City.  I’ve been in NYC on quite a few New Year’s Eves, but typically we just watch the show on TV to avoid the crowds.

The crowds as we tried to leave were rough.  Brutal even.  People were jamming together trying to force their way through as fast as they could.  I’m not sure what the hell happened but I heard a woman screaming like a banshee.  A lot of people stopped to look but we kept pushing through.  Also, people were hopping the barricades on the bridge to try to find quicker routes on the side, where the pedestrian walking area is.  Perhaps they got caught up in the moment and the revelry of welcoming a new year, but a few girls in miniskirts hopped the barricade as well and flashed a few dozen people in the process.  Hey, I wasn’t complaining.

After the fireworks were over it took us almost an hour to get off the bridge and down into the Raffles MRT station.  Oddly enough, the police had the areas set up into intentional bottlenecks.  I think it must have been to prevent there from being too many people in the MRT station at once.  The train was surprisingly uncrowded.

A short time later we were back in Pasir Ris, topping off the evening with an iced kacang and some cold drinks.

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