12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About New Year's Eve In Times Square

What exactly makes this ball so special, anyway?


The first Times Square New Year's Eve celebration was in 1904, in honor of the new headquarters for The New York Times.


The first Times Square New Year's Eve celebration was in 1904, in honor of the new headquarters for The New York Times.


The newspaper wanted a way to announce their arrival into what was formerly known as Longacre Square, and The New York Times owner Alfred Ochs thought New Year's Eve was the perfect time for a party. Roughly 200,000 attendees showed up to One Times Square for the all-day street festival, which ended with fireworks set off from the base of the tower. The ball wasn't added for three more years.


(Incidentally, 1904 also brought the city's first subway line.)


The Times Square Ball dropped for the first time in 1907, when fireworks alone just weren't cutting it anymore.


The Times Square Ball dropped for the first time in 1907, when fireworks alone just weren't cutting it anymore.


Alfred Ochs wanted a bigger spectacle, so he put the newspaper's chief electrician Walter Painer and designer Artkraft Strauss on the job. Drawing inspiration from the time-balls traditionally used in the maritime world, they designed a 700-pound ball, measuring five feet in diameter, fashioned out of iron and wood, and covered in 100 25-watt light bulbs.


On New Year's Eve, the ball was hoisted up the rooftop flagpole by six men, and when it fell to the roof, it triggered the lighting of a neon sign indicating the new year as well as a fireworks show. The tradition continued like this until 1920.


(Via The New York Times )


FPG / Getty Images


In 1920, the original ball retired and made way for the new, lighter design: 400 pounds, made entirely of iron, and maintaining that 5-foot diameter.


In 1920, the original ball retired and made way for the new, lighter design: 400 pounds, made entirely of iron, and maintaining that 5-foot diameter.


(Via The New York Times )


NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images




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