Happy New Year's Day 2007 (open trackbacks)
"May the best thing that happened this past year be the worst thing that happens to you next year."I once knew an Irish priest who accidentally said that backwards and was accused of laying a curse on someone. OOPS!
Growing up in the NY metro area, one of my favorite holiday traditions was watching the ball drop over Times Square in New York City. Ever since I was old enough to stay up to see the ball drop it has always been a key part of any party or celebration that I was at. Here in Houston there is no special tradition like this. Some cities have fireworks displays but nothing that rivals the July 4th fireworks. We've popped off some fireworks when we lived outside city limits but we cannot so that anymore. The NY ball drop is also not very well coordinated here. Many of the TV stations carry it live which means that the we see the ball come down at 11:00 pm instead of midnight. It is a little disappointing and when I have made a big deal of it being the New Year on the east coast (in real time if you will) people look at me like I am an idiot.
So tonight we'll watch the ball drop at 11 like normal and that will let me get the little kids in bed an hour early. And then at midnight we'll usher the new year in with the older kids who are still at home and not at parties with some wine or champaign and maybe listen for the booms and bangs of a few firecrackers and bottle rockets.
From the Times Square Website:www.timessquarenyc.org/
History of the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball
Revelers began celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square as early as 1904, but it was in 1907 that the New Year's Eve Ball made its maiden descent from the flagpole atop One Times Square. This original Ball, constructed of iron and wood and adorned with 100 25-watt light bulbs, was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds. In 1920, a 400 pound ball made entirely of iron replaced the original.
The Ball has been lowered every year since 1907, with the exceptions of 1942 and 1943, when its use was suspended due to the wartime "dimout" of lights in New York City. The crowds who still gathered in Times Square in those years greeted the New Year with a moment of silence followed by chimes ringing out from One Times Square.
In 1955, the iron ball was replaced with an aluminum ball weighing a mere 150 pounds. This aluminum Ball remained unchanged until the 1980s, when red light bulbs and the addition of a green stem converted the Ball into an apple for the "I Love New York" marketing campaign from 1981 until 1988. After seven years, the traditional Ball with white light bulbs and without the green stem returned to brightly light the sky above Times Square. In 1995, the Ball was upgraded with aluminum skin, rhinestones, strobes, and computer controls, but the aluminum ball was lowered for the last time in 1998.
For Times Square 2000, the millennium celebration at the Crossroads of the World, the New Year's Eve Ball was completely redesigned by Waterford Crystal. The new crystal Ball combined the latest in technology with the most traditional of materials, reminding us of our past as we gazed into the future and the beginning of a new millenium.
The actual notion of a ball "dropping" to signal the passage of time dates back long before New Year's Eve was ever celebrated in Times Square. The first "time-ball" was installed atop England's Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833. This ball would drop at one o'clock every afternoon, allowing the captains of nearby ships to precisely set their chronometers (a vital navigational instrument).
Around 150 public time-balls are believed to have been installed around the world after the success at Greenwich, though few survive and still work. The tradition is carried on today in places like the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, where a time-ball descends from a flagpole at noon each day - and of course, once a year in Times Square, where it marks the stroke of midnight not for a few ships' captains, but for over one billion people watching worldwide.
The Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Today
The current version of the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball, designed by Waterford Crystal, made its first descent during the last minute of the 20th century, at the Times Square 2000 Celebration.
The Ball is a geodesic sphere, six feet in diameter, and weighs approximately 1,070 pounds. It is covered with a total of 504 Waterford crystal triangles that vary in size and range in length from 4.75 inches to 5.75 inches per side.
For the 2007 New Year's Eve celebration, 72 of the crystal triangles feature the new "Hope for Peace" design, consisting of three dove-like patterns symbolizing messengers of peace. The remaining 432 triangles feature Waterford designs from previous years, including the Hope for Fellowship, Hope for Wisdom, Hope for Unity, Hope for Courage, Hope for Healing, Hope for Abundance, and Star of Hope triangles. These crystal triangles are bolted to 168 translucent triangular lexan panels which are attached to the aluminum frame of the Ball. The exterior of the Ball is illuminated by 168 Philips Halogená Brilliant Crystal light bulbs, exclusively engineered for the New Year's Eve Ball to enhance the Waterford crystal. The interior of the Ball is illuminated by 432 Philips Light Bulbs (208 clear, 56 red, 56 blue, 56 green, and 56 yellow), and 96 high-intensity strobe lights, which together create bright bubbling bursts of color. The exterior of the Ball features 90 rotating pyramid mirrors that reflect light back into the audience at Times Square.
All 696 lights and 90 rotating pyramid mirrors are computer controlled, enabling the Ball to produce a state-of-the-art light show of eye-dazzling color patterns and a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square. The New Year's Eve Ball is the property of the building owners of One Times Square.