History behind the Times Square Ball Drop

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(WYTV) – Times Square in New York City is the center of a New Year’s Eve tradition that has been going on for more than a century.

How come?

In 1904, the city finished the new headquarters of “The New York Times” newspaper, and the city named the large intersection there Times Square.

As 1904 drew to a close, the newspaper threw a party to celebrate its new location, shooting off fireworks from the top of its building. People knew to start gathering there to welcome in the new year.

But New York City banned fireworks in 1907, so the Times decided to drop a ball instead as 1907 became 1908. It was copying a ball drop at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England.

That first Times Square ball was 700 pounds of wood and iron, five feet in diameter holding a 125-watt bulb.

That ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve has been consistent, except for New Years Eve in 1942 and 1943. We were in the middle of World War Two with blackouts, so no bright ball drop those two years.

In 1920, the ball became wrought-iron aluminum in 1955.

Then, Waterford Crystal designed the Millennium Ball for the 2000 ceremony.

As for the newspaper that started it all, “The New York Times” outgrew the building in 1913 and left for another.

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