Thousands ring in 2020 at First Night Boston

BOSTON (WHDH) - Thousands of people packed into downtown Boston to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, but revelers paused to remember a young man killed this weekend while working on prep for First Night.

Sherborn resident Brandon McSweeney died when a 3,500-pound base to a lighting tower fell on him while it was being set into place Saturday. Organizers held a moment of silence Tuesday as festivities got underway.

“We’re trying our best to pay our respects toward him and honor him as an individual,” said First Night event director Brooke Maher.

McSweeney’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help establish a scholarship in Brandon’s name.

Maher said she expects between 200,000 to 250,000 people to come out to the 44th annual celebration. As in past years, there will be fireworks and ice sculptures, among other activities.

Boston police say there will be tight security and drinking will not be tolerated at the event. Sections of Boylston, Charles and Dartmouth streets have been closed off and officials urged attendees to take the T.

“As you look around you see nothing but family, friends and everyone that loves coming to this destination city,” said Police Commissioner William Gross.

Revelers said the chilly temperatures weren’t enough to keep them away from the activities.

“Since lunch time, we saw the ice sculptures and listened to the music,” said Julian Willis. “My toes are a bit cold now but it’s OK.”

Erica and Assir Abushouk said their kids were enjoying the celebration — but they didn’t think they’d make it to midnight.

“We are here for the family fireworks and then we’ll head home,” Erica Abushouk said.

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