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. On November 11, 2008, the new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball was unveiled. It’s a 12 foot geodesic sphere, double the size of previous years’ balls and weighs just over 11, 800 pounds. The ball is covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystals and powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDS and can create a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns producing a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square.
2009 heralds the 101-year anniversary of the much-loved Times Square Ball. Happy Holidays!
For a directory of New York hotels in the Times Square area, head to NewYorkJourney.com.
‘Tis the season to be giving and what better place to shop for the holidays than New York City. All the major department stores in the city have unveiled their magnificent holiday window displays to entice buyers and this is definitely a spectacle not to be missed!
One of New York City’s most popular department stores is Macy’s. One window is a changing theme and this year it’s theme is “Believe”. Their other always depicts a theme from the classic Christmas movie, “Miracle on 37th Street”. Another store famous for its exquisite holiday window displays is Bloomingdales on Third Avenue. The displays stay in place until well after New Year. Bloomingdales’ displays are always classy and showcase intricately detailed scenes.
Also displaying their holiday windows is Saks Fifth Avenue, the New York City department store icon conveniently located near Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This store’s window display is especially popular with families as it is always whimsical with a touch of fun. This year, the department store created a stunning “Snowflake City” theme display using CRYSTALLIZED (TM) – Swarovski Elements. Bergdorf Goodman unveils its sophisticated holiday window displays, usually incorporating stunningly authentic antiques and the height of fashion. Other stores to look out for include Barney’s and Lord & Taylor.
Visitors who wish to make a day out of window display viewing should remember to wear comfortable walking shoes and dress in layers in case they are tempted to go into the warm, heated stores! While most of the major store windows can be viewed in less than two hours, visitors should take their shopping time into account as well! Window-shopping has never been such a pleasure!