Millions of Americans clebrated the coming of 1989 with News Year's Eve celebrations Saturday from New York'S times Square to Hollywood Boulevard, where Beefed-up police patrols guarded against violence. It was hot toddies all around for oldtimers at a Chicago nursing home.

But boozers on the road, beware: the boys in blue were looking for you.

The lowering of the ball in Times Square marked a return to tradition after seven years in which the apple the illuminated globe, starting in 1982. A million people were expected at Broadway and 42nd Street, with millions of others watching the famous countdown to 1989 on television.

Assistant Police Chief Thomas Walsh said 2,300 police officers were on duty. Sgt. Maurice Howard added: "There are officers assigned to civilian clothers throughout the area, and pickpockets will be one of the areas they give attention to."

Midnight celebrations included fireworks in Central Park and over the East river, a 5 mile race for 4,000 runners by starlight and a newly designed illumination flooding the Empire State Building in a salute to the 100th birthday of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Legendary "hi-de-ho" bandleader Cab Calloway, prevented by illness from performing on New Year's Eve for the first time in memory, sent holiday greetings Saturday from his hospital bed in White Plains, N.Y.

"I wish everyone a Happy New Year," the ailing 81-year-old musician said in a message relayed by his wife, Nuffie.

Fireworks displays were planned in many other cities across the country, including Albany, N.Y.; Fort Worth, Texas; New Bedford, Mass., and Boston. Many of the displays were part of traditional First Night celebrations planned in 24 cities - an effort to create a family-oriented festival of the arts.

Newcomers to First Night, which began in Boston in 1976, include Athens, Ga.; Denver; Edmonton, Alberta; Montclair, N.J.; and Newburyport, Mass. In most cases, officials banned the sale or consumption of liquor.

"It's so good to see all of the people caught up in the activities without getting loaded," said Susan Wolfgang, an organizer in New Bedford, Mass.

About half a million people were expected in Boston for a 10-hour extravaganza featuring music, dance, mime, theater, film and ice sculptures, ending with fireworks over Boston Harbor.

In usually snowy New Hampshire, organizers of Concord's First Night festival had to bring in three snowmaking machines to the Statehouse plaza for a traditional centerpiece of the celebration - snow sculptures.

On the West Coast, Los Angeles police warned against the tradition of firing guns into the air at midnight, which has killed and injured several people in past years.

"Holiday revelers who want to ring in the New Year by making noise can do so without guns," Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block said.

More than 100 extra police officers were assigned to patrol Hollywood Boulevard to prevent a repeat of rioting in which 100,000 Halloween revelers tangled with police, leaving nine people injured and several stores damaged.

"There's no law against reveling. But if you're coming to smash windows, if you're coming to create mayhem, then we recommend that you stay in your own neighborhood and not come to Hollywood Boulevard," Los Angeles City Councilman Michael Woo said.

Police across the nation were checking for drunken drivers. The National Safety Council predicted between 350 and 450 people will die and 16,000 to 21,000 others would be seriously injured on the nation's highways during the holiday weekend.

The California Highway Patrol stopped 800 drivers at a sobriety checkpoint in Los Angeles at the start of the weekend.

In Chicago, legendary disc jockey Wolfman Jack hosted the "ultimate `50s and `60s New Year's party" at the Holiday Inn O'Hare, while revelers at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel went after a world record for the most balloons dropped at a New Year's celebration - 40,000, said hotel spokesman Melanie Hixon.

In Oakland, Calif., the annual Grateful Dead concert at the Oakland Coliseum had been sold out for weeks, with thousands of "Dead Head" fans coming from every corner of the country.