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Times Square New Years Eve

Learn the history of the Times Square New Years Eve party. The first New Year’s Eve Party in Times Square was in 1904 to celebrate the opening of the New York Times headquarters located at One Times Square. Accounts estimate that nearly 200,000 people watched the fireworks at the base of the building, the second tallest in Manhattan at the time, as the New Year arrived. The event was so popular that it became the premier location for ringing in the New Year in New York City.

City officials banned the display of fireworks, providing the impetus for the famous dropping of the ball at Times Square. Faced with the loss of fireworks, the owner of the New York Times arranged for a illuminated 700 lb iron and wood ball covered with light bulbs to be lowered from the tower flagpole precisely at midnight to signal the end of 1907 and the beginning of 1908.

For more than a century thereafter, Americans have celebrated the dropping of the ball on New Year’s Eve. The only time that a glowing ball was not dropped in Times Square was in 1942 and 1943 when wartime required the dimming of lights in New York City. The crowds who still gathered in Times Square during the wartime years greeted the New Year with a minute of silence.

The 2009 Times Square Ball is covered by more than 2,500 Waterford Crystals and is powered by more than 32,000 LED lights.

Information by the Times Square Alliance
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