The 12-foot wide, nearly 12,000-thousand pound New Year’s Eve Ball took a practice drop on Thursday in advance of tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square.
All 2,688 Waterford Crystals shone brightly atop the One Times Square flagpole as the ball was lowered and raised Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a wonderful ritual to have the ball here in Times Square and it’s just a great way to celebrate the good things in life, no matter how unpredictable things may be in the world,” said Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins.
The Ball is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million colors as well as billions of patterns, according to event organizers, and produces a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square.
Tompkins said one thing that made this year’s celebration exciting was a new free app for Apple and Android devices that would allow streaming of the live 6-hour webcast of the festivities leading up to the ball drop.
Tompkins stressed that security would be tight in Times Square for the festivities and said that revelers leave their backpacks at home.
As for the 20 inches of snow that hit the city earlier this week, city sanitation workers shut down traffic in parts of Midtown on Thursday to clear the streets leading to Times Square.
“It’s great that this New Year’s Eve will be a little warmer than usual,” Tompkins said. “There’s nothing like 500,000 pairs of feet to melt the snow.”
Volunteers also blew up 25,000 balloons over approximately 16 hours during the last two days at One Times Square.
The balloon ringleader, Danny Magowan of Syracuse, enlisted the help of his family and friends for the 17th year running to inflate the thousands of balloons that will be passed out to Times Square revelers on Friday night.
“No matter how many times I do this, when I look out over the crowd it’s so gratifying to see all of our hard work with the balloons,” Magowan said.
“The energy in Times Square at midnight is really incredible. I always feel like I’m right in the center of the universe.”
The festivities will begin at 6 p.m. as the Ball is lit and raised to the top of the 77-foot flagpole atop One Times Square. Mayor Michael Bloomberg will push a Waterford Crystal button at 11:59 p.m. to trigger the ball’s descent.