In Brooklyn, Steam and Whistles Usher in 2009

It's not just about dropping crystal balls and confetti. On the Clinton Hill campus of Pratt Institute, a few hundred revelers gathered last night for a once-a-year cacophony: factory whistles, steam whistles, ship's whistles, and few the school's chief engineer made himself. Conrad Milster has been letting these sounds loose on New Year's Eve for 45 years.

MILSTER: We're just letting people blow them at random and everyone seems to have a tremendous time doing that.

REPORTER: There was also a steam calliope with 32 whistles tuned to specific notes, playing tunes such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and Beethoven's Ninth.