Times Square New Years Eve Celebration

 

 

Times Square New Year's Eve and the Marriott Marquis

 

 

Confetti on New Years Eve at Times Square

New Year's Eve in Times Square

Ring in the New Year at the wildest party of the year! Be part of the dazzling lights and bustling energy of Times Square. Watch the descent of the famous New Year's Eve Ball, a tradition which has become the universal symbol of welcoming the New Year. For 100 years, New York City's Times Square has been the center of the universe on New Year's Eve.

The Times Square New Year's Eve celebration features star-studded musical performances, balloons, pom-poms, confetti, a colorful pyrotechnic display and about a million of your closest friends.

 

History of New Year's Eve in Times Square (from the Times Square Alliance)

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.

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.

In 1914, The New York Times outgrew 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.

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 welcome to the New Year.