At midnight on December 31st, many cities worldwide welcome the New Year with lots of festivities including parties, fireworks and other exciting events. Times Square is home to one of these celebrations, and is among the most well-known and widely publicised in the world. One of the most unique features of a Times Square celebration is the Ball Drop, which features a large time ball located on the roof of 1 Times Square. Every year this one-of-a-kind ball is dropped 141ft in 60 seconds, arriving at the bottom of a special flagpole, ringing in the New Year.
In addition to the ball drop, there is live entertainment and star-studded performances. It is estimated that at least one million people attended the iconic event in Times Square each year, and over a billion others watch it live on their TV screens. The tradition began in 1907, to welcome 1908 in, and was partially to celebrate the location as the new office of the Times. Every year since then the ball has been lowered to welcome the new year, excluding 1942 and 1943 due to blackout observations during WWII. The first time ball was made from wood and iron, but regular improvements have been made as technology increases. The ball’s current design has an outer surface consisting of triangular crystal panels, and an internal computerised LED system.
There are countless New Year Eve’s parties throughout the Square that accompany the ball drop every year. Times Square is often transformed into the most stimulating place to be at this time, and getting a close-up of the ball drop even while on site can become difficult, due to the number of people in the area. Attendees begin arriving in the afternoon, of December 31st, to enjoy the festivities. The earlier the arrival time, the higher the chances of getting a spot near the ball.
The Times Square celebration officially begins at 6:00 pm when the ball is lit and begins its ascent, accompanied by special pyrotechnic effects. Party favours are then handed out, to those in the crowd, and at 8pm live shows begin. At exactly 11:59 the ball begins its descent, as onlookers count down the New Year. At the stroke of midnight the lights in the ball are turned off, and the numerals of the new year appear above Times Square. Confetti is released from the roofs of the buildings, and accompanied by a colourful lighting display. Many of the parties continue until after dawn, when everybody goes home happy and prepared for what the new year may bring.