Thousands Ring in the New Year at Grand Park in Downtown L.A.

Thousands of teenagers, families and tourists from as far away as Finland danced, sampled food truck fare and brought in the new year at the Grand Park event Sunday in downtown Los Angeles.

Maria De Leon, left, and Debra Randall celebrate New Year's Eve at Grand Park. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Maria De Leon, left, and Debra Randall celebrate New Year’s Eve at Grand Park. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

There was no alcohol or fireworks, but several revelers said the free gala, now in its fifth year, finally was giving Los Angeles a focal point in which to celebrate the city.

”It’s not at the Times Square level yet, but it’s getting there,” said Keith Thomas, 23, of Long Beach.

The event, known as Grand Park + Music Center’s N.Y.E. L.A., stretched for several blocks in the heart of the civic center and featured live music, photo booths and supersized 3-D video images projected on the City Hall tower. Los Angeles police estimated the crowd included more than 22,000 people, Sgt. Edward Perez said.

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