By John Friia
There will be an estimated one million people gathering in Times Square to ring in the new year on December 31, according to the Times Square Alliance. While many New Yorkers attend various parties, at midnight their eyes will be watching the Waterford Crystal ball descend atop One Times Square.
Here are five fun facts you may not have known about the iconic New Year’s Eve Ball:
- The Times Square ball is 12-feet in diameter and weights almost six tons. It is covered with 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles that vary in size, which are attached to the aluminum frame of the ball.
- Lighting up in various colors, the triangles contain LEDS that illuminate in red, blue, green and white. They are capable of displaying more than 16 million vibrant colors that create a stunning kaleidoscope atop Times Square.
- Each year, the triangles take on a different meaning. For 2017, the Waterford triangles introduce the “Gift of Kindness” with a design of rosettes — symbolizing unity — with fronds reaching out in an expression of kindness. There will be other designs throughout the ball, including the “Gift of Wonder” and “Gift of Fortitude.” Other triangles will represent the “Gift of Imagination” with a series of intricate mirrored wedge cuts to inspire our imaginations.
- There have been seven versions of the ball. In 1907, the 700-pound ball was made of iron, wood and covered with 100 light bulbs. Throughout the years, it upgraded to another iron ball in 1920, an aluminum ball in 1955, a computerized aluminum and rhinestone ball in 1995, a crystal ball in 1999, a LED Ball to celebrate the centennial in 2007 — and finally, was replaced with the current ball.
- While the first New Year’s Eve ball descended One Times Square in 1907, New Year’s Eve celebrations first started in Times Square in 1904. The ball has become a universal symbol of ringing in the New Year since its conception.
John Friia is a freelance journalist and native New Yorker writing about food, drinks and lifestyle. You can follow his adventures on Instagram.