New Years Eve in Times Square

by Samantha Palmer

Every year, at exactly one minute to midnight on December 31st, the famous Times Square Ball makes its majestic descent that lasts a full minute until it ushers in the New Year. Millions of people take part in the ceremonious countdown that peaks at 10..9..8… until the final ..2..1 and “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” Nowhere is the celebration felt in New York as it is in Times Square on this night. 

The Times Square ball has been a firm New York tradition since 1907, although crowds would regularly gather in the square to welcome in the New Year long before this date. New Yorkers and visitors alike have witnessed this spectacular ritual for every year since, with the exception of two years during the Second World War due to ‘dimout’ restrictions.  

The original ball was made of iron and wood, was decorated with 100 25-watt light bulbs and weighed a whopping 700 pounds. From 1955 until the 1980s, an aluminum ball was used, temporarily turning into a giant apple to promote the “I Love New York” tourism campaign for several of those years. The new Millennium called for a totally new look for the Times Square Ball and Waterford Crystal was approached to create a ball fit for the occasion. The result was more than stunning – an interesting geodesic sphere, almost six feet in diameter and weighing over 1000 pounds. The effect of the lighting and more than 500 Waterford crystals was a fitting welcome for the 21st century.  

2008 heralds the 100-year anniversary of the much-loved Times Square Ball and in honor of this event, a new LED crystal ball was unveiled. Visitors to this year’s celebrations at Times Square will thus be able to enjoy a fantastic sight that promises to be twice as bright as the Millennium ball. Seasons Greetings!

For a directory of New York hotels in the Times Square area, head to NewYorkJourney.com.

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