District Mayor Marion Barry and other officials yesterday unveiled plans for the city's second annual New Year's Eve celebration at the Pavilion at the Old Post Office, a party that Barry claimed will "make Times Square look like downtown Peoria on a Wednesday night."

The singing group the Four Tops will headline the night of free entertainment. Shows will be held outside and inside the renovated Pavilion, near 12th Street and Pennsylania Avenue NW.

The rock group the Slickee Boys, the Mike Crotty Orchestra, jazz artist Roy Ayers and comedian Sylvia Traymore also will perform, from 8 p.m. New Year's Eve until 1 a.m. on Jan. 1. Metro will provide service until 2 a.m. New Year's Day.

As midnight approaches, a large reproduction of the 1985 U.S. Postal Service "Love Stamp" will be lowered slowly from the clock tower, and the downtown building's bells will ring in the New Year.

Last year, a giant stamp was accidentally lowered three minutes early before a crowd of thousands.

New York City Mayor Edward Koch was invited to take part in the D.C. festivities, although local officials said they doubt he will attend.

"We're going to offer a lot more than New York offers," boasted Barry, who arrived late for a news conference after undergoing treatment for an eye infection.

The New Year's Eve event is being sponsored by the Mayor's Committee to Promote Washington, Metro and local radio stations. The city will spend about $127,000 on the celebration, and private sponsors will kick in $15,000. Last year's event cost $108,000.