Now, beginning the countdown for the actual millennium

Philadelphia starts getting ready for Dec. 31, 2000


PHILADELPHIA -- The countdown clock outside City Hall is running again, tick-tick-ticking the new millennium our way.

The real one.

Millennium Philadelphia, the group that organized the city's 24-hour Y2K celebration, has had the clock restarted to remind all passers-by that 2001 is just 300-some days away.

"We've always intended to set the clock again. We always knew when the real millennium was. We always knew we would be celebrating again," said Amy Needle, executive director of Millennium Philadelphia. Needle had clearly been down this road before.

For those who missed the whole real millennium vs. faux millennium controversy during all the Y2K partying, time experts such as those at the U.S. Naval Observatory were pointing out long before the new year dawned that the new millennium would not start until Jan. 1, 2001.

The calendar still in use in most of the Western world started with the year 1. A full thousand years must pass before a new millennium begins: 1001, 2001.

Millennium Philadelphia, of course, had no shortage of people eager to point that out.

"We had a number of letters from people saying, `We know you're having this big celebration, but do you know when the real millennium starts?' " Needle recalled.

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