Unsurprisingly but perhaps reassuringly, the long-awaited and much-discussed 1980s began on schedule here actually and officially this morning at midnight.

The temperature in Washington was 36 degrees Fahrenheit as one decade came to a close and another began. Skies were partly cloudy, the moon was full and there was no wind as the historic moment arrived.

Revelers produced varying degrees of excitement at homes, taverns and in the streets. There was a even a small celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.

Although the monument officially closes at midnight, a few late-night visitors lingered until the fateful moment and "gave a brief cheer," said park technician Jim Burgess.

In what appeared to be a manifestation of the new spirt of patriotism that has developed in the wake of the crisis in Iran, diners -- some in party hats -- at the Empress Restaurant on Vermont Avenue NW joined at midnight in singing "God Bless America."

In some places, however, things didn't seem to work out. At Archibald's bar on K Street NW, a topless dancer gyrated her way into the new decade while the bartender called out, "Happy New Year, Everybody," to about 30 persons who seemed to be rather dispiritedly nursing their drinks.

The response was lukewarm at best, and the bartender later explained, "My boss didn't get me the noisemakers I wanted."

The blast of horns and the roar of noisemakers seemed to suddenly fill the downtown streets, then as suddenly to subside.

On a 14th Street NW corner, Deloran Lyles, a security guard who had just gotten off duty, said he had not yet begun to celebrate.

"I'm waiting on that ride to do that thing now," he said.

Shoppers strolled in and out of the all-night Peoples Drug store on Thomas Circle, but a clerk said business was slow, Business also appeared to be slow for many of the women who ply their trade along the 14th Street corridor.

"It's just another day," one woman said of the arrival of the widely awaited '80s.

"You asking me?" another woman shot back when called on to give her opinion of the significance of the new decade. "I'm just going to have to be living," she said.

Everything was quiet at the National Zoo, where Zoo police lieutenant Stewart Lucas started his new shift just at the moment the city was starting a new decade.

At the moment the 1980s began, one patient was under treatment at the emergency room of Georgetown University Hospital. And at Fairfax Hospital, while the relentless hands of the clock were ushering in the new decade, the rescue squad was at that moment bringing in a new patient. The patient's condition could not be learned.

In an event symbolic of both continuity and change, and of the journey through time from one decade to another, Continental Airlines Flight 84, which took of from Denver in 1979, touched down on the runway at Dulles International Airport in the first minute of 1980.