21 Surprising Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About New Year’s Eve in Times Square

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Close your eyes and picture the biggest New Year’s Eve party you can think of. You’ve probably thought of New Year’s Eve in Times Square with its famous Ball Drop. And you’re right, it is one of the most popular New Year’s celebrations in the world. Each year, millions of people gather around Times Square to be part of the spectacle – another billion will watch it on their TVs!


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If seeing the Times Square Ball Drop is on your personal bucket list, then you should definitely be prepared for your visit.

Here are the Top 21 Facts you probably didn’t know about New Year’s Eve in Times Square.




Image: Associated Press


1. The first Times Square Ball Drop occurred in 1907 – Yes, over 100 years ago!

2. The current time ball is 12 feet in diameter.

3. 11,875 pounds – That’s how much the ball weighs.

4. So far, the time ball has been redesigned seven times.

5. The surface of the ball is currently made of Waterford Crystal triangles. In comparison, the first version was a combination of iron and wood!

6. Waterford Crystals? OK, that must be an expensive ball! Yep… approximately 1 million dollars!

7. 32,256 LED’s illuminate the ball in all color variations you can imagine.


Image: @mahsa_tousi_nyc via Instagram


8. As a result of World War II, the ball was retired in 1942 and 1943 due to wartime “dim-out”. Instead, the New Year was greeted by a minute of silence.

9. For the first 87 years, the ball was lowered by hand. Today, the Time Square Ball Drop is timed electronically.

10. The descent of the ball starts at 11:59 PM and it takes exactly one minute to reach the end of the flagpole. Right in time for the New Year.

11. The ball resides on a 77-foot flagpole.





12. Approximately 1 million visitors are going to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

13. About 1 billion people worldwide will follow the event on their TVs.

14. 3,000 pounds of confetti is being dropped manually on Times Square by volunteers gathered on 8 buildings around Times Square. The volunteers are called “dispersal engineers”. During the month of December, visitors are invited to write their New Year’s wishes on confetti pieces in Times Square. Those wishes will be among the 3,000 pounds of confetti at Midnight.


Image: Angel Chevrestt


15. It takes about 7 hours to clean up the area after the party and to reopen the streets for cars and pedestrians – of course, that’s only possible with the support of a huge team.

16. The best viewing areas are going to be packed by the early afternoon. Therefore, if you really want to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square, you should probably secure your spot around noon. And that means: 12 long hours of waiting in the cold without a bathroom break as there are no public bathrooms installed (see fact 17 below).

17. When mother nature calls… there is no way you can go to the bathroom or else you’ll lose your spot. Thinking about quickly going to a nearby restaurant? Nope… once you’ve left your spot, someone else will be more than happy to follow in your footsteps! That’s why some people are going to wear diapers – no joke!

18. If the weather forecast should predict rain or snow… leave your umbrella at home and pack a poncho… umbrellas are not allowed inside the viewing area. And so are large backpacks and alcohol.



19. Security is a top priority when it comes to a huge event like New Year’s Eve in Times Square: 125 parking garages around Times Square will be emptied, 1,000 cameras will be installed, cement blocks will seal the area to prevent vehicle access (22 blocks long and three blocks wide), two or more security checks are waiting for you before you can actually enter the viewing area. There’s no way anyone can sneak in anything that is not allowed.

20. Traditionally, live music performances are taking place before the ball drops, the fireworks go off and all the confetti is raining down on the visitors. Previous performers were Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Snoop Dogg, and many other superstars.

21. Before the two numerals of the new year are being installed on top of the One Times Square Building, they are on display in Times Square for a couple of days.


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Congratulations, you can now answer all questions people might ask you about New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

If you are really planning on waiting in the viewing area for the magic moment, don’t forget to wear lots of layers, bring a poncho instead of an umbrella in case it rains, and stay hydrated – yes, we know there are no bathrooms, but you must have a sip of water here and there! You can do this. We are proud of you and wish we’d have your courage.

Go check out our event calendar if you want to know what else is happening in New York in December!

Happy New Year!


Intro Image: MJ Photos/Shutterstock

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