Alright, it may officially be the new year, I am still adamantly refusing to let go of the holidays. (I haven’t even made my resolutions yet!) So, as one final goodbye to the 2008 holiday season and to commemorate the New Year, let’s look back one more time – way back – for a little history lesson (thanks to the Times Square Alliance) on the origins of the famous ball drop in Times Square!
Have a ball and keep reading!
Believe it or not, the whole shebang started with the New York Times. The publication was moving operations to the impressive Times Tower (now known as One Times Square) and they successfully lobbied the city to rename the area around their new home from what was then called Longacre Square to Times Square. To celebrate, they held an inaugural party with a day of festivals and nighttime excitement to boot, on New Year’s Eve of 1904. Before that, the crowds would gather at Lower Manhattan’s Trinity Church to literally “ring in the New Year” and listen to a symphony of the church’s bells.
But the dropping of the NYE ball tradition didn’t actually begin until 1907; the first one was made of iron and wood and adorned with 100 25-watt light bulbs. It only got bigger and better over the years, and starting in 2000, the event’s organizers asked Waterford Crystal to begin designing the New Year’s Eve Ball. The 2009 ball was quite possibly the most ambitious at twelve feet tall– double the size of previous balls–and “capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns producing a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square.” Entitled Let there Be Joy, this year’s ball features a design of an angel with arms uplifted on each of the 1,728 crystals.
Besides being a beautiful American tradition harking back over a century, the ball also signals a brighter and more eco-conscious tomorrow. For the first time last year, the ball display went green! This year’s (even greener) ball consumed only the amount of energy per hour as it takes to operate two traditional home ovens.
Speaking of brighter tomorrows, one thing we’re looking forward to in 2009 is Inaugration Day: it’s only 20 days away! Until then, we can only express our excitement through whimsical clothing choices. Thanks to GalaDarling at iCiNG for bringing this incredible tee to our attention. This shirt by DC-based artist Chris Bishop features President-elect Barack Obama riding a unicorn!
Thanks for reading, have a wonderful weekend, and let there be joy in your 2009!