Like many people all over the world， Americans enjoy celebrating the arrival of each new year. Almost everyone makes an occasion of New Year’s Eve in order to see the old year out and welcome the new one. In New York， a favorite gatheringplace on December 31 is New York City’s Times Square.
Thousands of Americans and international tourists crowd this famous spot （at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue） and crane their necks to watch for "Happy New Year" to flash across the electronically controlled sign that moves around. When the moment arrives bedlam breaks forth. Bells ring， whistles blow， people cheer with their happy excitement.
The custom of visiting friends， relatives and neighbors is one of the popular activities on New Year’s Day. This activity is called Open House. The custom of Open House was inaugurated by George Washington during his first term as President. On January 1， 1789， President Washington first opened the doors of his official residence to all who wished to come. An Open House is just what the name implies ： the front door is left open.
Inside the door there is a spirit of relaxed cordiality， and guests are free to arrive and leave when they like. Invitations may say simply， "Drop in after the game" or "Come drink a New Year’s toast with us". On January 1， now， families hold "Open House" so that their friends can visit them throughout the day to express good wishes for the new year.