8 Fascinating Facts About New Year’s Eve in Times Square
Every year we go to parties to ring in the new year and, almost without fail, we all watch the ball drop in Times Square. Tens of thousands of people pack the square no matter what the weather. It’s a spectacular affair with a spectacular history. Here are 8 fascinating facts about New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
News You Can Use Before Times Square was Times Square, it was called Long Acre Square. In the early 1900s, the headquarters for the New York Times was built in the middle of Long Acre Square where 42nd Street, Broadway and 7th Avenue meet. It was the publisher of the newspaper — Adolph Ochs — that convinced city leaders to change the name to Times Square.
A Party to Remember Ochs had big dreams for the newspaper that is now one of the most revered publications in the world, but he had big dreams for Times Square as well. He wanted a New Year’s Eve party so big, the laughter and cheering could be heard for miles. Ochs’ dream came true in 1907.
Fire Extinguisher The big party ended with a grand fireworks display but after two years, city leaders decided it was a fire hazard. But Ochs was determined to end the year/start the next year with a spectacle: a giant sparkling ball. The ball evolved into what we see today every New Year’s Eve.
Heavy Duty The original ball weighed 400 lbs but it was swapped out for something much lighter and sleeker in the 1950s — it weighed 150 lbs. But lighter doesn’t mean better; the ball we watch today is 11,875 lbs.!
Rockin’ Eve It wasn’t always Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve on New Year’s Eve. For nearly five decades, Guy Lombardo hosted a New Year’s Eve party that included coverage of the ball drop in Times Square. But that wasn’t the Rockin’ Eve. That started in 1973 and for two years Dick Clark was just a reporter for the show that was first hosted by the band Three Dog Night followed by comedian George Carlin. It wasn’t until 1975 that Clark took over the hosting spot and the show became Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve. He remained as host until 2004 when he had a stroke. In 2006, he co-hosted with Ryan Seacrest. Seacrest then took over the hosting duties permanently with Dick Clark making occasional appearances. Clark died in 2012, but his name lives on. The show is now called “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.”
Go Prepared If you decide you’d rather see the ball drop up close and personal rather than from a TV, you’re in for a long night. To get a good spot where you can see everything, you have to arrive at 3pm. And, while there are plenty of restaurants where you can get food and use the bathroom, about a million (literally) other people need the same things you do. That means you should be prepared to pay $5-20 to use the bathrooms.
Fun-Fetti That confetti you see floating around the Times Square’s crystal ball is a big production. In fact, there is a designated “confetti master” who directs 100 volunteers scattered along buildings up and down Times Square. When the ball drops, they release 7,000 pounds of tiny pieces of paper onto the crowds.
Clean Up With about a million visitors and 7,000 pounds of confetti on the most raucous night of the year, Times Square on January 1 is not the place to be. As soon as the revelers leave, 178 sanitation workers set out to clear out the clutter of the previous year. In 2014, they cleaned up more than 52 tons of garbage. Think about that the next time you don’t want to clean up after a party!
Happy New Year from The Lakeside Collection! We wish you well as we enter another year.