Time Square New Year Celebrations

December 31, 2004

100 Years Of Time Square New Year's Party.

This year is the 100th anniversary of Times Square festivities. About 750,000 people are expected to fill Times Square on Dec. 31 to watch the ball drop at 11:59 p.m., as they count down the last 60 seconds of 2004.

New York's Time Square New Waterford Crystal

(New York, New York-NBC)
Dec. 27, 2004

- Few will see them up close, but millions will watch as they sparkle their way into the new year.

New Waterford Crystal patterns are being added to the traditional "ball" in New York's Time Square.

The new design on this triangular crystal panel is named "hope for wisdom." The pinwheel motif is designed to honor mankind's first and foremost important discoveries, the wheel.

This panel is the sixth in a series which included previous designs such as "hope for healing," "hope for courage" and "hope for unity."

Seventy-two of the ball's current panels will be replaced with this new one. Once the crystal is in place, workers will put the 696 large light bulbs on each panel that illuminate the international symbol of New Year's Eve.
Posted 10:45pm by Chantelle Janelle


MSN Brings Times Square New Year's Eve Celebration to Viewers Online

Exclusive Webcast to Feature Three User-Selected Live Video Views

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A full century after the first official New Year celebration in New York City's Times Square, people around the world will experience this New Year's Eve tradition in a way never before available through an exclusive live webcast on MSN(R) Video.

MSN is the exclusive online provider of the official Times Square New Year's Eve 2005 celebration. Starting around 6 p.m. EST, when organizers light and raise the world-famous New Year's Eve Ball atop One Times Square, and continuing through the ball drop at midnight, MSN Video viewers will be able to select from three streams that will capture all the revelry.

The webcast will end at 12:15 a.m.

The Times Square New Year's Eve Celebration presented on MSN Video can be viewed at MSN VIDEO

Time Square Site

Time Square History

New York in 1904 was a city on the verge of tremendous changes - and, not surprisingly, many of those changes had their genesis in the bustling energy and thronged streets of Times Square. Several innovations that would soon completely transform the Crossroads of the World debuted in 1904: the invention of the neon light, the opening of the city's first subway line - and the first-ever celebration of New Year's Eve in Times Square.

This inaugural bash commemorated the official opening of the new headquarters of The New York Times. The newspaper's owner, German Jewish immigrant Alfred Ochs, had successfully lobbied the city to rename Longacre Square, the district surrounding his paper's new home, in honor of the famous publication. The impressive Times Tower, marooned on a tiny triangle of land at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway and 42nd Street, was at the time Manhattan's second-tallest building -- the tallest if measured from the basement up.

Click on picture to view larger pic

The building was the focus of an unprecedented New Year's Eve celebration. Ochs spared no expense to ensure a party for the ages. An all-day street festival culminated in a fireworks display set off from the base of the tower, and at midnight the joyful sound of cheering, rattles and noisemakers from the over 200,000 attendees could be heard miles away.

The New York Times' description of the occasion paints a rapturous picture: "From base to dome the giant structure was alight - a torch to usher in the newborn..."

The night was such a rousing success that Times Square instantly replaced Lower Manhattan's Trinity Church as New York City's favorite place to ring in the new year. Before long, this party of parties would capture the imagination of the nation, and the world.

Two years later, the city banned the fireworks display - but Ochs was undaunted. He arranged to have a large, illuminated seven-hundred-pound iron and wood ball lowered from the tower flagpole precisely at midnight to signal the end of 1907 and the beginning of 1908. (For more information on the past and present of the New Years Eve Ball itself, please click here.) In 1914, The New York Times had outgrown Times Tower and relocated to 229 West 43rd Street. By then, New Year's Eve in Times Square was already a permanent part of our cultural fabric.

Click on picture to view larger pic

In 1942 and 1943, the glowing Ball was temporarily retired due to the wartime "dimout" of lights in New York City. The revelers who still gathered in Times Square in those years greeted the New Year with a moment of silence followed by chimes ringing out from Times Tower.

The New York Times retained ownership of the Tower until 1961, when it was sold to developer Douglas Leigh, who was also the man behind many of the spectacular signs in Times Square, including the famous Camel billboard with its smoking ring. Mr. Leigh stripped the building down to its steel frame, then re-clad it in white marble and windows.

Today, New Year's Eve in Times Square is a bona fide international phenomenon. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people still gather around the Tower, now known as One Times Square, and wait for hours in the cold of a New York winter for the famous Ball-lowering ceremony. Thanks to satellite technology, a worldwide audience estimated at over one billion people watches the ceremony each year. The lowering of the Ball has become the world's symbolic gesture of welcome to the New Year.

New Year's Eve is just a small slice of Time Square's history. To learn more, check out our Interactive Timeline.

Interactive Time Line

Gallery By Lisa Fiel

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