Every year, thousands of people flock to Times Square to watch a giant, sparkly ball descend the flagpole at One Times Square seconds before the New Year arrives.
Due to the rarity of available bathrooms, some of them even wear diapers.
The well-attended tradition started back in 1907, according to The New York Times. That year, an “electrically illuminated ball” dropped above the One Times Square, which The Times then owned, for the first time.
People started celebrating New Year’s in Times Square as early as 1904, but the ball didn’t come into play until three years later, to mark the arrival of 1908.
The Times originally constructed the building for a fireworks display, but when the city outlawed them, chief electrician Walter Palmer came up with the idea to drop a lighted ball from the top of the tower instead.
The ball has dropped from that tower, now owned by Jamestown Properties, every year since (except for 1942 and 1943 due to a wartime “dimout”).
The aesthetic, however, has changed throughout the years. In 1920, a 400-pound wrought iron ball replaced the original. In 1955, an aluminium ball, weighing only 150 pounds, replaced the iron one. The 1980s appropriately added neon lights, rhinestones, strobes, etc. Then, in 2000, Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting completely redesigned the New Year’s Eve Ball.
Finally, in 2007, Waterford Crystal and Phillips Lighting redesigned the ball again, making it the amazing version we’ll see tonight — 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon LED lights.
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