Hundreds of thousands of revelers rang in 2009 from frigid Times Square as the famous Waterford crystal ball dropped, signaling the end of a historic and troubled year that saw the election of the first black US president and the worst economic crisis in decades. As the clock struck midnight, a ton of confetti rained down while the partygoers hugged and kissed. Josh Torres and his girlfriend, Sarah Manganello, both 21, screamed and cheered as they watched the ball drop. Manganello had advice for people in the new year: ''Learn from what you've done and move forward.'' The wind chill made it feel like 1 degree in the area, but that didn't stop the throngs bundled in fur hats, heavy coats and sleeping bags from attending the event. Former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton helped Mayor Michael Bloomberg lower the ball atop 1 Times Square for the 60-second countdown to midnight. Last year, Hillary Clinton was in Iowa campaigning for the presidency, and now she's expecting to be secretary of state in President-elect Barack Obama's administration. Many other New Year's Eve traditions around the country were in place, but some festivities fell victim to hard times, and those that remained felt somewhat subdued. The nation's economic troubles made many people less interested in giving 2008 an expensive send-off. Public celebrations were canceled in communities from Louisville, Ky., to Reno, Nev., and promoters in Miami Beach, Fla., reported slower ticket sales than expected for celebrity-studded parties that they say would have sold out in past years. But New York's celebration was still going strong. Five minutes before midnight, 1,000 balloons with the words ''Joy,'' ''Hope'' and ''2009'' were released from rooftops in the area. The Waterford crystal ball -- 12 feet in diameter and weighing nearly 12,000 pounds -- dropped as the crowd erupted in cheers. ''With the downturn in the economy, with people getting laid off and with the tightening of budgets all over town, we just didn't think it was right to spend $20,000 or $30,000 on something that goes up in smoke,'' Mayor Bob Cashell said. Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson expected to save $33,000 by canceling a New Year's Eve party he traditionally throws, a spokeswoman said. Hundreds of revelers were still expected to watch the Times Square countdown on a big screen at a separate, free event in the city's downtown business district.