The most looked-at building in the world is getting a makeover. According to Crain’s, Jamestown will redevelop One Times Square, the 23-story building that garners the attention of millions for its famed ball drop every New Year’s Eve. The owner plans on installing 32,00 square feet of new signage, including a 350-foot-tall digital sign. To cash even further on its prime location, Jamestown may construct an observatory for NYE revelers to be at the heart of ball-drop festivities.
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Photo by Kohei Kanno on Flickr
Every year as the clock nears midnight on December 31, anticipation runs high as the world holds its breath waiting for the sparkling New Year’s Eve Ball to descend from its flagpole atop One Times Square. We all know that the countdown starts at 10, but there are a handful of other fun facts to muse over when it comes to the city’s most lauded tradition. From the wattage of the ball to the weight of trash produced to how long it takes to get it all cleaned up, see what we’ve rounded up, in numbers, ahead!
More on New Year’s Eve in Times Square here
Image courtesy of MetropolisNYE
New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays where expectations outweigh the realities–freezing weather, scarce transportation, raucous crowds and the prospect of corralling all of your friends in one place to avoid ringing in the new year while packed into a stalled subway car. If you’ve a shred of sense, you’re not headed for Times Square, but the city does its best to offer up options that are suitably festive and possibly even a whole lot of fun. See the list below for some ways to avoid dropping the ball on this year’s NYE plans.
2019, this way
Every year on December 31st, the eyes of the world turn to Times Square. In fact, New Yorkers, and revelers worldwide have been ringing in the New Year from 42nd Street since 1904, when Adolf Ochs christened the opening of the New York Times building on what was then Longacre Square with a New Years celebration complete with midnight fireworks. In 1907, Ochs began dropping a ball from the flagpole of the Times Tower, and a tradition for the ages was set in motion.
But long before Adolf Ochs and his proclivity for pyrotechnics, New Yorkers had been ringing in the New Year with traditions both dignified and debauched. From the George Washington and the old Dutch custom of “Calling,” to the rancorous tooting of tin horns, one thing is clear, New York has always gone to town for the New Year.
A crowd in Times Square; screenshot via TheLazyCowOnUTube
In 1904, the New York Times moved from the City Hall are to the triangular piece of land at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway, and 42nd Street. People thought they were crazy for moving so far uptown, but this was the same year the first subway line opened, passing through what was then called Longacre Square. Not only did their new Times Tower have a printing press in the basement (they loaded the daily papers right onto the train and got the news out faster than other papers), but it was the second-tallest building in the city at the time. To honor this accolade, the company wanted to take over the city’s former New Year’s Eve celebration at Trinity Church, and since the church elders hated people getting drunk on their property, they gladly obliged. So to ring in 1905, the Times hosted an all-day bash of 200,000 people that culminated in a midnight fireworks display, and thus the first New Year’s Eve in Times Square was born. But it wasn’t until a few years later that the famous ball drop became tradition.
Get the full history in this video
Image via Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park
Since it opened on the Coney Island boardwalk in 1920, the landmarked Wonder Wheel has given more than 35 million rides. If you want to add to this number, a press release from Deno’s Wonder Wheel tells us that it will offer free rides from 6 to 10pm on New Year’s Eve. They’ll also charge only $5 from 11am to 2pm on New Year’s Day to coincide with the annual Polar Bear Plunge (50 percent of January 1st’s profits will go to the Plunge’s charity Camp Sunshine).
Yesterday, 6sqft shared a video that explored the history of New Year’s Eve in Times Square. The first celebration was held in 1904 as a celebration of the New York Times’ new building at the crossroads, and in 1907 the first ball drop took place. Since then, the tradition has taken place every year except for 1942 and 1943 due to WWII “dimout” lighting restrictions. Today, the magnificent ball weighs six tons and is made up of 32,256 LED lights. The spectacle draws a crowd of at least 1 million, which to some sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime party. Others, however, are deterred by the claustrophobic conditions and lack of bathrooms. Which side are you on?
Thought that $100 New Year’s Eve cover at your favorite bar was steep? It’s nothing compared to the rates to ring in 2016 atop One World Trade Center. DNAinfo reports that the Observatory is hosting a black-tie-optional soiree for which tickets will range from $500 to $6,750, a far cry from the normal $32 rate to get to the top. The three-digit ticket will get you passed hors d’oevures, passed sweets, a four-hour open bar, a midnight champagne toast, and, of course, access to the DJ dance party and incredible views. If you’re a high roller, you’ll get guest admission for 12, as well as reserved seating on the 100th and 102nd floors with private waiter service and additional appetizers and bottles of booze.
Interested in spending New Year’s Eve on top of NYC? Check out all the ticket packages HERE >>