New York’s Times Square is easily the world’s most famous location for ringing in the New Year.
Every year, more than a million people rock up and, get this: more than a billion tune-in to the 6-hour star-studded televised event worldwide.
You’ve all heard of watching ‘the ball drop’ in Times Square, and we spoke to the actual ‘ball guy’… he’s otherwise known as Jeff Strauss, President of Countdown Entertainment.
And while it’s the slickest of events these days, the first one was pretty loose.
Picture this: it’s 1904 and you’ve gone to Times Square to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
“They used to have fireworks in New York City, like you have over in Sydney Harbour,” Mr Strauss said.
“And the hot ashes would rain down on the revellers below, burning their heads.
“So, they had to come up with a new idea.”
That’s how the idea of the ‘ball drop’ came about.
The first New Year’s Eve Ball lowering was in 1907 and it was made of iron and wood, weighed almost 320 kilograms, and was covered with 100 light bulbs.
The next major upgrade was in 1955, when the iron ball was replaced with aluminium and an extra 80 bulbs were added.
In 2007, marking the Ball’s 100th anniversary, modern LED technology replaced the bulbs of the past. We’re talking more than 32,000 LED lights.
These days, the details are a lot more elaborate.
Here’s the specs:
- The Ball is a geodesic sphere, 3.65m in diameter, and weighs a HUGE 5390 kilos.
- It’s covered with 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles (it’s the largest crystal ball in the world)
- The Ball is capable of displaying a palette of more than 16 million colours. Not just that, the kaleidoscope of patterns it can create? Billions.
- Since 1907, seven versions of the Ball have been designed.