Looking back at New Year’s Eve in Times Square

1926. (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images) 1930. (Associated Press) “Auld Lang Syne.” New calendars. Champagne. Fireworks. The ball drop. The Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve has become synonymous with the holiday itself. Since 1907, there have been only two Januaries — 1942 and 1943 — that did not begin with the iconic ball’s descent at One Times Square. In those years, people still gathered in Times Square, but a moment of silence for the troops fighting in World War II welcomed the new year instead of the typical cheers. The Times Square ball drop was started by Adoph Ochs, who owned the New York Times, but the tradition can be traced back to England’s “time balls,” which were installed in prominent locations to help passing ships keep their chronometers synchronized. From iron and wood to LED technology, the ball has been transformed seven times in the past 110 years. Although the new year is welcomed with many traditions globally, as these photos show, the ball drop has been a U.S. landmark event for more than a century. 1937. (Associated Press) 1938.  (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images) 1941. (Matty Zimmerman/Associated Press) 1941. (Associated Press) 1942. (Matty Zimmerman/Associated Press) 1943. (Tom Fitzsimmons/Associated Press) 1945. (John Lent/Associated Press) 1947. (NBC/Getty Images) 1949. (Associated Press) Correction: An earlier version of this caption incorrectly stated that this image was photographed in 1938 instead of 1949. 1952. ( Ernst Haas/Getty Images) 1954. (Tom Fitzsimmons/Associated Press) 1958. (Associated Press) 1966. (Harvey Lippman/Associated Press) Continue Reading

Throngs expected for flashy, frigid Times Square ball drop

NEW YORK — New Yorkers, celebrity entertainers and tourists from around the world will pack into Times Square on Sunday for what’s expected to be a flashy but frigid start to the new year. Revelers are likely to begin lining up in the bitter cold in the early afternoon, hours ahead of when the city will mark the start of 2018 with a glittering crystal ball drop, a burst of more than a ton of confetti and midnight fireworks. It could be one of the coldest celebrations on record, held under tight security after a year that saw several fatal attacks on large crowds, including one in Times Square itself last spring. Mariah Carey will perform again on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” hosted by Ryan Seacrest, after a bungled performance last year in which she stumbled through her short set, failing to sing for most of it despite a pre-recorded track of her songs playing in the background. Carey was visibly upset during the performance and she blamed the show’s production team, but they ultimately buried the hatchet. Carey posted an advertisement featuring herself for the show on Dec. 22 that said: “Take 2.” The dazzling finale of the show will be the traditional drop of a Waterford Crystal ball down a pole atop One Times Square. This year, the ball is 12 feet (3.5 meters) in diameter, weighs 11,875 pounds and is covered with 2,688 triangles that change colors like a kaleidoscope, illuminated by 32,256 LED lights. When the first ball drop happened in 1907, it was made of iron and wood and adorned with 100 25-watt light bulbs. The first celebration in the area was in 1904, the same year the city’s first subway line started running. After two terrorist attacks and a rampaging SUV driver who plowed into a crowd on the very spot where the party takes place, police are taking no chances. Security will be tighter than ever before. Garages in the area will be emptied of cars and sealed off. Detectives are Continue Reading

How to watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve

Each year, more than one million people stream into Times Square in New York City to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another. The annual New Year’s Eve celebration in the center of Manhattan is known across the country as the place to be for a truly spectacular countdown to midnight.The countdown ends when the ball drops, bringing in 2018. The ball, which is a 12-foot, crystal-covered sphere that weighs more than 11,000 pounds, has been signaling the start of the New Year since 1907. If you are planning to ring in the new year with the Times Square celebration, here are all the details you need to know. Keep up with this story and more How to watchArrive to Times Square with plenty of time to spare, to make sure you get a spot where the ball is visible. With so many attendees, this is no small feat, so arrive early in the afternoon to snag a spot. If you don’t get a spot right in front of One Times Square, don’t stress. There will be plenty of screens broadcasting the main event. Some streets will be blocked off, so the best strategy is to arrive via subway or walk into the area.If you are willing to spend some extra money, you can see the ball drop from several locations surrounding Times Square. Stay warm with an indoor celebration at parties hosted by nearby hotels, like the Marriott Marquis or the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel. The Millennium Broadway or the Knickerbocker Hotel, along with several others, sell tickets ranging from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, for swanky events where attendees can see the ball drop from up above in rooftop bars and lounges.Keep track of the events from afar with the live stream. What to watchThere are hours of entertainment planned for the evening, so arriving early not only ensures you a good spot, but also means you will get to see a variety of music and performances. Tarana Burke, founder of the “Me Too” movement, will share her wishes for Continue Reading

New Year’s Eve NYC Live Stream 2017: Watch Times Square Ball Drop Online, On TV

About a million people will make the journey to Times Square in the heart of New York City Saturday to watch the ball drop and ring in the new year. But if you're not feeling quite like standing in the 30-degree temperatures for hours to wait for a literal ton of confetti to cascade down onto your head, good news: You can watch the festivities from the comfort of your own home. Grab a bottle of champagne, plop down on the sofa and load up a stream of Times Square on New Year's Eve. The official broadcast will start at 5:55 p.m. EST and be hosted by Jonathan Bennett, perhaps best known as Aaron Samuels in "Mean Girls" — his hair looks sexy pushed back. Check out the live stream below or watch EarthCam's broadcast here. People will start showing up in Times Square at about 3 p.m. EST, according to the event website. The famous New Year's Eve Ball — which sits on top of One Times Square — will be raised at 6 p.m. Twenty minutes later, staffers will pass out hats, scarves and balloons to the crowd, and at 7 p.m. CNN host Anderson Cooper will come out. The rest of the night will contain a series of performances and appearances from people like Rachel Platten, Gloria Estefan, Gavin DeGraw, DNCE, Bill Nye, Thomas Rhett, Mariah Carey and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. When the clock hits midnight, the Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year's Eve Ball lights will be turned off. Then they'll flash back on as the numbers "2017" sparkle and confetti is released. "Each year, I look forward to sharing the anticipation and excitement for the upcoming year with the millions of people who celebrate with us from around the world," Jeffrey Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment, said in a news release. "New Year’s Eve is a singular moment when the world can unite together in celebration and hope for the upcoming year." If you want to watch the ball drop on TV, you can check out ABC, CNN, NBC or Fox News for a broadcast. And if Times Continue Reading

The Interesting Backstory Behind The NYE Times Square Ball Drop

The Times Square ball drop celebration has been around for over 100 years. The tradition began in 1907 and has evolved quite a bit since then. The ball itself has grown in size and has been transformed over the years to become the 12-foot-diameter ball of LED lights it is today. And this year, the person leading the countdown to the new year is Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement. Burke was selected to lead us into 2018 because of the impact she had in 2017. According to an official press release, “New Year’s is a time when we look at the most significant cultural and political moments of the last year, when we look for inspiration by honoring and giving a global platform to those who have made a difference,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance. “Tarana Burke’s courage and foresight have changed the world this year, and, we hope, forever. We are honored to have her be part of the 2018 New Year’s celebration.” Burke founded Just Be Inc., and created the Me Too Movement, in 2006 to provide support to victims of sexual harassment and assault. In the year 2017, the #MeToo hashtag became widely used, particularly after the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others came to light. So in many ways, it’s clear why Burke was selected to push the Waterford crystal button that initiates the ball drop as we transition from 2017 to 2018. But what is the actual selection process like? Well, it has a lot to do with who was a “mover and shaker” throughout the year. The Times Square Alliance The Times Square Alliance is the non-profit organization behind the upkeep, activities and promotion surrounding Times Square. The organization, along with Countdown Entertainment, co-organizes the Ball Drop and selects the Special Guest each year. A spokesperson filled us in on what they consider before choosing a candidate for each NYE celebration: “Many people are part of Continue Reading

From bombs to ball drops, the history of New Year’s Eve in Times Square

If the malfunctioning “18” sign isn’t fixed by Sunday night, the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebrations could bomb out — and it wouldn’t be the first time! On Dec. 31, 1904, when Big Apple revelers rang in the new year with a literal bang — a dynamite blast from the top of One Times Square, then newly owned by The New York Times — fiery ashes rained down on the crowd, eventually prompting the NYPD to ban explosives and pushing the paper to create a crowd-pleaser with less potential for disaster. The publisher’s idea: Lower a massive glowing ball down a flagpole to kick off the champagne-fueled countdown instead. The botched blast was just the first of many snafus and silly stunts that have plagued the big celebration over the years since, experts and historians say. New Years Eve wasn’t always a blast in the Big Apple. Before Times Square hosted the confetti-flinging festivities, New Yorkers celebrated with a tame religious ceremony at Trinity Church in lower Manhattan. But when the Times moved to what was then called Longacre Square, the paper’s publisher, Adolph Ochs, unleashed the splashy fireworks show — complete with the dynamite — to compete with the now-defunct New York Herald, which had opened Herald Square to much fanfare in 1902. “It was a publicity stunt,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. “But people got nervous fireworks would burn something down.” On Jan. 1, 1905, the Times’ front page blared, “A few minutes before 12 o’clock, a dynamite bomb was fired from the tower . . . First they showed white against the sky. The color changed and they burned red. It seemed almost as if the building were aflame.” And, despite the near-disaster, it added, “Never was a New Year’s Eve more joyously celebrated.’’ But the dynamite, which was fired off again the following year, irked the police, Continue Reading

WATCH LIVE: Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball ringing in 2017 in front of one million revelers

The new year is almost here! More than one million people are celebrating New Year's Eve Saturday night in Times Square. Temperatures were expected to dip into the mid-30s as revelers awaited the drop of this year's Waterford crystal ball, which features 2,688 crystals and weighs almost 12,000 pounds. The crystals — arranged in rose-inspired designs — are part of the year's "gift of kindness" theme. People not wishing to make the trip to Times Square can watch the festivities through a live webcast or mobile apps. More than one ton of confetti is dropped during the festivities. "The best advice we can give is to get there as early as possible," the Times Square Alliance said on its website. "We cannot predict how quickly the viewing areas will fill up. Prime viewing areas may fill up early in the afternoon." "Fight Song" singer Rachel Platten will lead the singing of John Lennon's "Imagine." Anderson Cooper, Ghanaian singer-songwriter Jojo Abot, Jenny McCarthy, Silentó, Jonathan Bennett, Gloria Estefan and Mariah Carey are all scheduled to appear throughout the evening. Mayor de Blasio will be joined by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to push the Waterford crystal button to begin the descent of the New Year's Eve Ball, and lead the final 60-second countdown to begin 2017. The ball will drop 70 feet in 60 seconds. Revelers have been celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square since 1904, and a ball has been lowered from the flagpole at the top of One Times Square on Broadway and 43rd St. since 1907. Continue Reading

One Times Square joins landmarks worldwide in turning off lights for Earth Hour

What a bright idea! One Times Square turned off its lights for 60 minutes Saturday night in observance of Earth Hour, an annual international event to raise climate change awareness. The event was first held on March 31, 2007, when the WWF conservation group inspired people in Sydney to turn out the lights for an hour. Since then, the symbolic shut-off has expanded to thousands of cities and towns around the world. Other notable locations that went dark Saturday included the Eiffel Tower and the Acropolis. More than 162 countries participate in the planet-friendly occasion. The Shanghai city skyline (l.) and the Sydney Opera House (r.) went dark for Earth Hour Saturday night. In Seoul, the glass-covered City Hall was among several public buildings where officials switched off the lights inside and out. Lights illuminating landmarks such as the massive COEX shopping mall, the city’s main railway station and several bridges on the Han River were all either turned off or dimmed. With News Wire Services Continue Reading

WATCH LIVE: Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball ringing in 2016 in front of one million revelers

Here comes 2016! Times Square is hosting 1 million people celebrating New Year’s Eve Thursday night in the famous Midtown bowtie. Organizers expect to let loose over a ton of confetti with mild winds and temperatures in the mid-30s. The Waterford crystal ball rose to the top of a 77-foot flagpole at One Times Square on Broadway and 43rd St. at 6 p.m. THE TOP CELEBRITY TRANSFORMATIONS OF 2015 Those not wishing to make the trip can watch the festivities through the Livestream webcast or several mobile apps. Those present near Times Square should know that the expected 6,000 uniformed police officers have cordoned off Broadway and Seventh Ave from traffic and pedestrian crossings. “The best advice we can give is to get there as early as possible,” the Times Square Alliance noted on its website. “We cannot predict how quickly the viewing areas will fill up. Prime viewing areas may fill up early in the afternoon.” THE 10 BIGGEST CONTROVERSIES IN NYC DURING 2015 British pop star Jessie J is headlining the many musical performances, and she’ll be leading the traditional singing of John Lennon’s “Imagine” just before 2016. Anderson Cooper, Bill Nye and Mayor Bill de Blasio are also making appearances, according to a schedule on the Alliance’s website. Some 200,000 revelers first rang in the New Year at Times Square in 1904 in commemoration of The New York Times’ then-new headquarters. The newspaper’s owner, Adolph Ochs, arranged in 1907 for an illuminated 700-pound iron and wood ball ball to be lowered from the building’s flagpole after the city banned a fireworks display. Tonight’s Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball is a 12-foot, 11,875-pound geodesic sphere covered with 2,688 crystal triangles and 32,256 LED lights. It will drop 70 feet in 60 seconds starting Continue Reading

Early Times Square arrivals ready to welcome 2012 long before the New Year’s Eve ball drops

Hundreds of thousands of New Year’s Eve revelers packed Times Square to cheer the arrival of 2012 on a night when the weather and the vibe were pleasantly warm. “It’s the biggest party in the world!” said Marine Staff Sgt. Nick Starr, 26, as he hung out with his fiancée and friends amid the midtown madness. Starr did tours in Afghanistan and Iraq before returning stateside seven months ago, and he wasn’t going to miss out on the nation’s biggest year-end bash. “I really want to see the ball drop,” said Starr. “The whole world’s watching.” In Times Square, the temperature hovered around 50 degrees — much higher than the typical New Year’s Eve low of 29. Turning up the heat was tween sensation Justin Bieber, who sported a red ski cap for a grown-up version of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” — accompanied by Woodstock veteran Carlos Santana on guitar. The happy crowd sang along with every word, and Bieber exited the stage beneath a shower of confetti. Michael Phillips, 29, was thrilled about the big night long before he and his wife arrived in Manhattan from Kershaw, S.C. “I hope that we have a better year this coming year than we did last year,” said Phillips, who made his first trip in an airplane for his first visit to Times Square. “And I hope that we have a baby.” Some earlybirds showed up to Times Square 17 hours before the ball was due to drop — including Peter Lin, who landed his small piece of Times Square real estate before sunrise. The countdown clock for 2012 was at 1,020 minutes until midnight when Peter Lin settled into his small piece of Times Square real estate to greet the new year. “It’s my first time and I want to have a good view,” the patient San Francisco State college student said at 7 a.m. on Saturday. “I didn’t want to be blocked by anybody.” The Continue Reading