the traveler's resource guide to festivals & filmsa FestivalTravelNetwork.com site part of Insider Media llc.
It was cold on Tuesday, but thankfully, not too cold as a few days before so I headed up 25 floors above One Times Square. Nothing would have stopped me from visiting the New Year’s ball with its myriad of glass crystals made by Ireland’s Waterford company. Joining a gaggle of international press, I made my way upstairs to head to the floor where I could see and touch THE BALL.
Over the years Fiskars — the owners of Waterford Crystal — Countdown Entertainment and The Times Square Alliance have invited journalists to view the ball as they prepare it for installation before it’s raised, then dropped, as New Year’s day kicks off. With 192 freshly designed crystals replacing those of the previous year –and photographed for this story — the ball’s presence is one constant in a life and a city full of many more changes than expected — or desired.
Though every New Year’s eve portends for a celebration that suggests a better year from the last, this year’s ceremony means so much more. After such a tumultuous 2022 with political and economic turmoil front and center of many people’s minds, there is more hope than ever that 2023 will build on 2022 to make for a better world and life for the planet.
Finally, this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square is back to normal and the crowds are allowed to return to the city center unhampered. Though the current triple threat of respiratory infections suggests that people should mask up, it’s not mandatory. In-person shopping has even surged this season and people are hitting restaurants and events — though not quite in the numbers hoped for — unabated.
So there I was, posing before it, seeing it in the light of day — getting a view behind the veil as you can see from the pictures included here. Talking with the Fiskars’ point person Tom Brennan — who was among those fine folks that were there — about the pleasure of seeing him again and this return to normal, he pointed me in the direction of a fact sheet on the Ball’s history
With that in mind I thought to include a few of those facts about the ball. The actual notion of a ball “dropping” to signal the passage of time dates back long before New Year’s Eve was ever celebrated in Times Square. The first “time-ball” was installed atop England’s Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833.
For Times Square 2000, the millennium celebration at the Crossroads of the World, the New Year’s Eve Ball was completely redesigned by Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting. Waterford has been fitting the Times Square Ball with brilliant crystal panels since then. The crystal Ball combined the latest in lighting technology with the most traditional of materials, reminding us of our past as we gazed into the future and the beginning of a new millennium.
The inaugural New Year’s Eve bash, held in 1904, commemorated the official opening of the headquarters of The New York Times with a fireworks display at midnight. Since 1999, replacements for the 2,688 crystal panels that make up the ball have been designed and made by hand by Irish craftsmen at Waterford.
Each year, millions of eyes from all over the world are focused on the sparkling Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball. At 11:59 p.m., the Ball begins its descent as millions of voices unite to countdown the final seconds of the year, and celebrate the beginning of another new year.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter!