Fun Facts about Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop

How was your Christmas? Ours was good, but it included 12 hours without power besides a generator. Thank God for the generator which gave us heat and a microwave. Our Christmas dinner which really wasn't included microwaved lasagna with my father's birthday cake for dessert that had hand whipped frosting. Luckily Hazel thought it was fun to hand whip the frosting. But as always it is so great to be with family. 

Well it has been a long time since I have done a fun facts, so today we are looking at the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop.

  1. In 1833 England’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich had the first time-ball.  It would drop at one o’clock every afternoon so the captains of nearby shifts could set their chronometers. In 1904 the first ever celebration of New Year’s Eve happened in Times Square. It was to commemorate the official opening of the new headquarters of The New York Times. The party happened all day and ended with fireworks to ring in the new year. Fireworks were banned in 1907. The ball drop replaced the fireworks.
  2. The first time the ball dropped was in 1907. It has dropped every year since except in 1942 and 1943 when there was a dimout lighting restriction due to World War II. Crowds still gathered in Times Square during those years and greeted the new year with a moment of silence.
  3. The first ball weighed 700 pounds. Today’s ball weighs 11,875 pounds. It has also weighed 400 pounds when it was made of wrought iron in the 1920s and 150 pounds when it was made out of aluminum from 1955-1998. It also has grown in size from 5 feet to 12 feet in diameter. The ball is a geodesic sphere.
  4. 2000 times square ball at waterford
    2000 Times Square Ball at Waterford By Hunter Kahn (talk) 02:57, 8 October 2008 (UTC) (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  5. The first ball was created by Jacob Starr. He was a young immigrant metalworker. The first ball was made of iron and wood with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs. For most of the twentieth century the ball was made by the company Jacob Starr started. Artkraft Strauss was responsible for lowering the ball.
  6. Today’s ball has 2,688 Waterford crystals on it. The crystals are handmade in Ireland and shipped to the United States. They are triangular shape and their sides range in length between 4 ¾ and 5 ¾ inches.  It has 32,256 Philip Luxeon LED lights to light it up. LED lights were introduced in 2007. It takes 50,000 watts to light up the entire ball. (It takes 161 megawatts to light up the entire Times Square.)
  7. Times Square Ball from above 180
    Times Square Ball from Above Anthony Quintano [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  8. The numerals on the ball are 7 feet high. The four numerals use a total of 561 9-watt Philips LED bulbs. The numeral 2 contains 145 bulbs, the 0 contains 164, the 1 contains 72 bulbs and the 8 contains 180 bulbs.
  9. The ball can display more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square.
  10. It is estimated that 1,000,000 people will pack Times Square to see the ball drop this year compared to 500,000 in 1998. And 1,000,000,000 people will watch it on television across the globe.
  11. New Years Eve 1999-2000 - Times Square
    Times Square New Year's Eve Welcoming in 2000 By Rob Boudon 
    (Flickr: New Years Eve 1999-2000 - Times Square) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  12. About 22% of Americans will fall asleep before midnight.
  13. Confetti is blasted over the people in Times Square. It is dropped from the tops of 7 buildings and takes more than 100 people to complete the task. It is 3,000 pounds of confetti or about 30,000,000 pieces of colored paper.
  14. Celebration in the 'Big Apple', SMP hosts trip to Times Square for New Year’s DVIDS511669
    Confetti in the air By Photos by Nichole A. Hall 
    ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  15. The coldest ball drop ever recorded was in 1917 when it was 1 degree out with a windchill of -18 degrees. The high of the day was 6 degrees. The warmest ball drop recorded was in 1965 and 1972 with a temperature of 58 degrees. This year’s weather is expected to be about 12 degrees with the possibility of snow (though it is too early to tell for sure).
  16. At 6 p.m. the ball is raised to the top of its 77-foot flagpole. It takes 60 seconds for the ball to descend the flagpole to signal the start of the new year.
  17. In 2015 there was 48 tons of trash cleaned up by the NYC sanitation workers after the festivities. In 2016 it took 7 hours to reopen the streets after the work of 178 sanitation workers using 26 mechanical sweepers, 26 collection trucks, 38 blows and 40 hand brooms to tidy up Times Square.
  18. New Year Aftermath
    Times Square Aftermath (January 1, 2008) By Andrew Baron 
    (originally posted to Flickr as New Year Aftermath) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  19. Did you know there is a wish wall in Times Square?  You can add your list to the all by visiting it between December 1 and December 29 from 11 am to 8 pm. It is located at the Times Square Plaza 42-43 (on Broadway between 42nd and 43rd streets in New York City). You can also add yours digitally here.
  20. As we say goodbye to 2017 do you have any memories that you want to go away? Check out Good Riddance Day on December 28, 2017 from 12 pm – 1 pm at Times Square Plaza 45-46 (Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets). You write down what you want to get rid off and it gets shredded. This is inspired by the Latin American tradition of burning stuffed dolls representing bad memories.
Looking for some STEM New Year's ideas? Take a look at geodesic spheres. Here is a great group activity or this one from PBSTake a look at the changes of the ball and consider how it affected the drop. My other thought is to use a ball ornament (I found mirrored ball ones) to make your own ball-drop. Brainstorm ideas of what could be used and see what you have. One idea is over at JDaniel's 4 Mom and one over at Instructables. We haven't had time to try it yet, but I would love to see what you come up with.