Teams play dodgeball in front of the Yellow Jersey as a pirate and a fairy toss "pixie dust" at one another. One of the ubiquitous naughty female cops is taking pictures with a real officer, who is grinning from ear to ear.
But when police ask people to leave at 1:30 a.m. -- as the time is set to fall back a half hour later -- many don't want to comply.
A mass of clowns, Supermen, and other revelers coalesce on State Street between Pel'meni and The Exclusive Company. Some are trying to pet the horses that a few policemen are riding. Others are more rowdy.
"Oh laaay, oh lay, oh lay, oh laaay," chants a group in the crowd as they jump around the mounted police. Their horses move erratically as their riders order people to leave while foot patrol try to back people towards the sidewalk. They manage to clear an aisle to Gilman Street and Broom Street.
"Why are the police doing this?" asks a bystander "They're instigating this mess by pushing people out."
The police efforts are thwarted when the mass of costumed hell-raisers once again surround the horses and refill State Street a little before the second 1:00 a.m. The jumping and taunting continues as the rhetoric heats up.
"F@#% the police!" shouts the crowd while a man dressed as President George Bush denounces attacks on democracy.
"This is not the fun kind of crazy," laments a firefighter while he stands outside the Reebok store.
Police start clearing the periphery of the crowd, thanking them for coming and telling them to have a good night. The pleasantries fail to impress, but for many the party is over.
"There's tear gas every year," grumbles a reveler as he exits to Gilman Street.
Approaching 1:30 a.m. for the second time, police on the ground are able to clear a circle around the horses. The crowd quiets down, and the exit aisles off State Street are once again opening as people start to leave.
No mass pepper spray this year, though in the distance, one can still hear "Oh laaay, oh lay, oh lay, oh laaay" as the cleaning crews come in.