Jacks Hill, downtown Kingston come alive with New Year's celebrations
Leading up to 12 a.m. on Monday, which would have signalled the end of an old and murderous 12-month period in Jamaica and the beginning of a fresh new year - 2018 - activities and excitement throughout Kingston and St Andrew seemed quiet, until The Gleaner visited the Kingston Dub Club in Jacks Hill, the Jerusalem Bible Centre off Waltham Park Road, and later on, downtown Kingston.
The journey to the Dub Club, through Papine Square saw the usually ultra-busy square packed with route taxis but hardly any potential passengers to fill them.
A main feature when The Gleaner arrived at Skyline Drive, where the Dub Club is located, was the presence of locals, comprising mostly friends and families, lining the hill, chatting, and overlooking the city in anticipation of fireworks, which were to go on display when the clock struck midnight.
Buses filled with tourists
Another key feature was the stream of buses filled with tourists from mostly North America and Europe, which flowed in to offload foreigners seeking to ring in the New Year, Jamaican dub style.
Inside the Dub Club venue, patrons danced to a variety of dub music.
By contrast, only a handful of people could be seen on some of the main streets within Half-Way Tree. They were either on their way to an event in the vicinity, or were in transit to elsewhere. There was no huge pile-up of vehicular traffic there either.
When The Gleaner got to Waltham Park Road, en route to the Jerusalem Bible Centre, the sounds of firecrackers was deafening. What sounded like other forms of explosives could also be heard.
The energy in the church was electrifying.
"The theme was SOAR, which, basically, is about flying above all of life's challenges and staying above all obstacles. For 2018, I wish that Jamaica will soar far and beyond and stop the crime and violence," Pastor Michael Grant told The Gleaner.
If anyone wanted to experience fun and excitement while ringing in the New Year, downtown Kingston was a safe pick.
Unlike Half-Way Tree and other places, downtown buzzed with vehicular and pedestrian traffic as many made their way from the annual fireworks display and stage show event on the waterfront to nearby parties.