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Why Do We Drop The Ball In Times Square On New Year’s Eve? 15 Facts You Need To Know

We Drop The Ball Every NYE

Unless you live under a rock, you know that a big, lighted ball drops at midnight every year on January first. You probably also know that this event occurs in Times Square, New York City. While this is a tradition most of us have accepted and tune into each New Year’s Eve, there is actually a lot of history that many don’t know.

Worry not, we are here to help. Before you know it, you’ll be dropping facts with your friends and loved ones all night this New Year’s Eve.

drop the ball

10 Facts About The Times Square Ball Drop

  1. The first year the ball was dropped in NYC was in 1907, welcoming 1908. Young metalworker, Jacob Starr, and his company Artkraft Strauss were responsible for the ball drop for most of the twentieth century.
  2. The Times Square ball has been dropped every year since 1908, with the exception of 1942 and 1943, during WWII. New York City was part of a wartime blackout. Despite the ball not being illuminated and dropped, crowds still gathered in Times Square, participated in a moment of silence and the sound of chimes marked a New Year.
  3. The original ball was made from iron and wood and was illuminated with 100 25-watt light bulbs. It was 5-feet wide and weighed a whopping 700 pounds.
  4. In 1920 the original ball was replaced with a lighter version (400 lbs) made solely of wrought iron. Again in 1955, the ball was replaced by a lighter (150 pound) aluminum version.
  5. Remember the “I Love New York” marketing campaign? In the 1980’s, the ball was made to look like an apple, with red lights and the addition of a green stem to go along with this campaign. This lasted until 1988, when they returned to the traditional white ball.
  6. While the world was preparing for Y2K, the Times Square ball was getting a makeover with Waterford crystals and Philips lighting. These two companies have been responsible for the iconic ball since.
  7. The next design for the ball was created for New Year’s 2008, weighing 1200 pounds and uses nearly 10,000 LED lamps. In 2009, a year later, a new ball was made weatherproof, larger than ever and would permanently be displayed at One Times Square year-round (weighing nearly 12,000 pounds).
  8. The most current ball can display nearly 16 million colors due it’s advanced lighting chambers.
  9. It takes 50,000 watts to power the current ball (for scale, a 5,000 watt generator can power the average home during an outage).
  10. Since New Year’s Eve 2005, welcoming 2006, John Lennon’s song “Imagine” has either been played (until 2010) and most recently performed by a chosen artist at the Times Square ball drop.
  11. At least 3,000 pounds of confetti is dropped in Times Square on New Year’s Eve each year. What a cleanup that must cause!
  12. The celebration in Times Square is cleaned up overnight and by the next morning, you would barely know what happened.
  13. Since the first ball drop in 2008, the average temperature in NYC is 34 °F. Brrrrrrr! (In 1917-18 the temperature was 1 °F and there was a wind chill of −18 °F. Luckily none of us were there THAT year).
  14. The most famous host of this New Year’s party is Dick Clark, who hosted Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve until his death in 2012. A crystal with his name was added to the ball after his death.
  15. It is estimated that over 1 billion people around the world tune in to watch the ball drop each year.

One final tidbit: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional gathering was closed to the public for New Year’s Eve 2021. First responders, essential workers and their families were invited to the “Heroes of 2020” New Year’s celebration. These families wore face masks and were put in their own socially distanced “pens.”

This year, with additional modifications, including crowd control of 15,000 individuals (typically there are nearly 1million spectators for this event), there will be a Times Square celebration.

Check out the itinerary here.

Photo by Kohei Kanno on Flickr

Are we ready to drop the ball and start a new year, leaving the happenings of 2021 behind?

About The Author
The Manopause Team
The Manopause Team
An overeducated and underpaid team of writers, researchers and very opinionated men and women of all ages. Venturing into heretofore uncharted online territory, they are dedicated to entertaining, educating, inspiring and uniting men over 50 ...and the people who love them.
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