It started with a head fake, with horrible visions of a computer apocalypse called Y2K that was going to bring civilization to its knees.
When that didn't happen, when the new millennium arrived with glorious daylong fireworks from Sydney to Hollywood and with dazzling highs on Wall Street, it felt like the relative good times of the 1990s would just keep on rolling.
Instead, the 2000s — if that indeed is its real name — were worse than anyone could have imagine, beginning in sorrow-filled spirit on Sept. 11, 2001, with terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 innocent Americans.
And that was just the beginning: There was a war launched on flimsy pretenses and the endless blowback; torture scandals and political scandals and accounting scandals, and a flood that all but wiped out one of the nation's great cities.
Surfing atop the headlines, it was a decade so bad that no one really knew what to call it, even in its last throes. Time magazine called it "the Decade from Hell"; others called it "The Lost Decade." It ended in fears of global warming and the end of oil, and with the United States massively in debt.
Still, decades are more than just what you see on CNN. After all, the 2000s will be remembered fondly by people who married their soul mate or who had a baby during these last 10 years.
There were happy days in Philadelphia, like those two weeks when 100 percent of the town went wild over the Phillies and then 83 percent celebrated the presidential election of Barack Obama. There were even some good tunes and some good flicks — when you sifted through the ruins.
Here's a look back at the decade — whatever you want to call it — here in Philly:
John Street takes oath to succeed Ed Rendell as Philadelphia mayor, launches campaign to rid streets of abandoned cars.
Pier 34 collapse sweeps nightclub crowd into icy Delaware River; three women are killed.
The Republican National Convention brings prestige to Philly and controversy over arrests of protesters.
The Lex Street massacre in West Philly claims seven lives, a tragedy compounded by arrests of wrong suspects.
GOP's George W. Bush defeats Al Gore in record-close White House race after weeks- long Florida recount.
Boom on Wall Street comes to an end as high-tech Nasdaq peaks above 5,000 before dot-com bubble bursts.
Donovan McNabb leads Eagles to the playoffs in his first full year as quarterback, a feat repeated seven more times, including this season.
Pop culture: "Gladiator," U2's "Beautiful Day," "Survivor," "Lord of the Rings," "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
The state takes over cash-strapped, underachieving Philadelphia schools, creating the School Reform Commission.
Reputed crime boss Joey Merlino convicted of racketeering, ushering in decade of decline for local mob.
"Hippie guru" Ira Einhorn nabbed in France and returned to Philly for trial/conviction in 1979 murder of his girlfriend.
Pennsylvania gets an acting governor, Mark Schweiker, when Tom Ridge is tapped as homeland security chief.
Region's largest bank, First Union, becomes Wachovia as unending era of bank mergers marches on.
Terrorist attacks on 9/11 kill nearly 3,000 Americans at World Trade Center, at Pentagon, and in the central Pennsylvania crash of Flight 93.
U.S. launches assault on Afghanistan that topples Taliban regime but fails to nab 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Apple introduces the iPod, revolutionizing the way that people buy and listen to music.
Allen Iverson and the scrappy 76ers electrify the region with their march to NBA finals before losing to Shaq, Kobe and rest of the Lakers.
Pop culture: "Shrek," the XFL, "Law and Order: Criminal Intent," Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady," "Who Moved My Cheese."
Ex-Philly mayor Ed Rendell shocks pundits by defeating Bob Casey Jr. in primary and winning election as governor.
Allen Iverson mug shot graces front page of Daily News after weapons arrest; charges later dropped.
A new era at the Roundhouse as Sylvester Johnson replaces John Timoney for six-year run as top cop.
Mayor Street creates controversy after telling NAACP confab that "the brothers and sisters are running this city."
Congress authorizes military force against Iraq over weapons- of-mass-destruction threat that later proved bogus.
Collapse of energy giant Enron amid accounting shenanigans initiates era of business scandals, distrust.
Eagles lose to Rams in NFC title game, beginning three-year run of just missing Super Bowl trip.
Pop culture: "American Idol," Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising," Gawker.com, "The Wire," "Spider-Man."
Discovery of listening device in Mayor Street' office reveals massive corruption probe but doesn't prevent re-election landslide.
CBS3 debuts new anchor team of Alycia Lane and Larry Mendte — precursor to bizarre case of near-sex, lies and hacking.
City Council stalwart Thacher Longstreth — his final years clouded by stormy relations with his girlfriend/aide — dies.
Cardinal Justin Rigali replaces Anthony Bevilacqua as head of Philly Archdiocese in scandal-marred decade.
U.S. invades and conquers Iraq with military "shock and awe," but anti-U.S. insurgency begins to rise.
Bloggers become a growing political force as Internet continues to break down traditional journalistic barriers.
Phillies begin era of steady improvement by signing big-ticket free agent Jim Thome for final year at the Vet.
Harvard undergrad creates Facebook as use of computer for "social networking"; will change the face of friendship.
Pop culture: OutKast's "Hey Ya!" White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," Jay Z's "Black Album," "The Da Vinci Code," "The Kite Runner," "Lost in Translation."
The bloodshed in Iraq hits home as West Chester native Nick Berg is captured and beheaded on video by terrorists.
Phillies fans' longtime dreams of a ballpark with natural grass are realized with debut of Citizens Bank Park, implosion of Vet.
Southwest Airlines begins service at Philadelphia International, launching an era of lower fares and more flights to city.
Beanie Sigel, the best-known bad boy of the local hip-hop scene, is convicted on federal weapons charges.
Locally trained Smarty Jones breaks Philadelphia's heart as bid for Triple Crown dies in stretch at Belmont.
President Bush is narrowly re-elected after defeating Democratic Sen. John Kerry in race that turned on Ohio results.
Oil prices begin a four-year rise that will peak with gasoline exceeding $4 a gallon, raising concern about future of fossil fuels.
Pop culture: "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, Perezhilton. com; Green Day's "American Idiot," "Lost," wardrobe malfunction.
Massive crowd packs Parkway for Live 8 concert as Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews and others urge Africa aid.
A midnight pay raise voted to themselves by Pennsylvania lawmakers causes statewide outrage and is eventually revoked.
A New York Times article about the "sixth borough" highlights Philly as growing destination for urban hipsters.
An unspeakable horror in Lancaster County as a deranged man kills five young girls in Amish schoolhouse.
Hurricane Katrina causes massive loss of life and property in New Orleans and along Gulf as slow response is blasted.
Eagles finally reach Super Bowl for second time in franchise history, but lose to New England Patriots as rally falls short.
Video-sharing Web site "You Tube" is launched, spotlighting growing use of the Web for watching video entertainment.
Pop culture: Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat," Huffingtonpost.com, "The Office," "Chronicles of Narnia," Kanye West's "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
A steady rise in Philadelphia homicide rate due to rising drug trade, other factors, peaks at 405.
Conservative GOP Sen. Rick Santorum ousted in landslide, as Democrats retake control of Congress.
Daily News, Inquirer sold to local ownership group, but papers later slide into Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid industry crisis.
Geno's owner, Joey Vento, slammed for "Speak English" sign as immigration to Philadelphia rises during 2000s.
Saddam Hussein is executed in Iraq, but his death does not quell sectarian violence.
Ryan Howard sets Philadelphia record by bashing 58 home runs and wins National League MVP award, but Phils miss playoffs.
Locally trained Barbaro wins Kentucky Derby but collapses in the Preakness and dies after seven-month battle.
Pop culture: Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," "The Colbert Report," Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice," "Borat," Cormac McCarthy's "The Road."
Michael Nutter elected mayor after hotly contested Democratic primary that breaks patterns of racial voting.
Police Officer Gary Skerski gunned down in bar, the first of six cop killings that rock city over 2 years.
The Comcast Center, city's tallest skyscraper, is topped off as Center City building boom begins to wind down.
Long-awaited slots parlors open in Bucks, Delaware counties, but plans for two gaming palaces in Philly are fought.
Young, attractive scam artists Jocelyn Kirsch and Edward Anderton are labeled Philadelphia's "Bonnie and Clyde."
Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his crusade against global warming as political temperature rise over solutions.
Dow Jones index peaks above 14,000 as bubble of inflated U.S. housing prices begins to deflate.
Epic late-season collapse by New York Mets helps surging Phillies win the NL East, first playoff trip in 14 years.
Pop culture: "Sopranos" finale, Harry Potter finale, "Mad Men," Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Larry Craig's "wide stance."
City power broker state Sen. Vince Fumo indicted, later convicted of abusing office, capping corruption-marred decade.
Pa. is center of political universe during bitter six-week primary showdown between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Videotaped beating of three shooting suspects is first test for new police commissioner Charles Ramsey.
Mayor Nutter considers drastic budget cuts as fiscal crisis weighs down his first year in City Hall.
Tragic death of abused, disabled 14-year-old Danieal Kelly leads to massive shake-up at DHS.
Barack Obama is elected 44th, and the first African-American, president of the United States in landmark election.
Global economic meltdown and collapse or near-collapse of leading Wall Street firms triggers deep recession, job losses.
Phillies defeat Tampa Bay Rays to win World Series, end 25-year title drought with massive parade down Broad Street.
Pop culture: Tina Fey, "Slumdog Millionaire," Heath Ledger dies, "Twilight," Miley Cyrus.
Comcast cements its image as highest-profile Philadelphia company with pending acquisition of NBC-Universal.
Philadelphia Archdiocese continues city retrenchment with plans to close North Catholic, Cardinal Dougherty.
Moderate Pa. Sen. Arlen Specter switches to Democratic Party to avoid a messy primary fight with GOP right wing.
"Tea Party" movement of American conservatives battles Obama on health-care reform, other issues.
Faked nationally televised saga of missing "Balloon Boy" dramatizes American obsession with reality-TV shows.
Tiger Woods sex scandal upends career of decade's top athlete while epitomizing changing nature of celebrity.
Top politicians, jocks, entertainers and regular Joes communicate in 140-character bursts over Twitter.
Second-biggest blizzard in Philadelphia history dumps 2 feet of snow, ends decade with a white Christmas.