Times Square is ready to welcome hordes of New Year's Eve revelers looking to cast off a rough year and cheer their way to something better in 2012.

For all of the holiday's bittersweet potential, New York City always treats it like a big party -- albeit one that, for a decade now, has taken place under the watchful eye of a massive security force.

Pessimism has no place on Broadway. Not this week, anyway. The tourists who began streaming through the square Friday were there to kiss, pose for silly snapshots and gawk at the stages being prepared for performers like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.

An Associated Press-GfK poll conducted Dec. 8-12 found that 62 percent of Americans were optimistic that the nation's fortunes would improve in 2012.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)