Ringing in the new year in New York City is a classic way to celebrate and spending the night in Times Square watching the iconic ball drop in real life takes it to a whole new level.
Of course, if you’re not in the mood to mingle with the crowds and stand outside in the freezing cold all night, we get it (and… same!). You can always watch it on TV, something pretty much everyone we know does instead.
But how did this all get started? Why does the entire world tune in to watch a ball fall from the sky as the year turns from one to the next? We’re here to answer your burning NYE questions before the big night!
Turns out, this tradition has been going strong since 1907. Back then the ball weighed 700 pounds and was 5 feet in diameter, which seems huge until you compare it to what we’re working with today – a ball that is 12 feet in diameter and weighing 11,875 pounds!
The crazy thing is that the act of dropping a ball to signify the passage of time goes back to 1833. Originally, balls were dropped near harbors at 1pm every single day to alert docked ship captains to reset their navigation instruments to prepare for the next trip. This early style of ball dropping still exists today, and you can check it out at the United States Naval Observatory in Washington D.C., but obviously the most famous ball drop is what we see in Times Square in NYE.
Times Square became the global New Year’s Eve destination in the early 1900s as a way to commemorate not just the New Year, but the fact that the New York Times opened a new headquarters in the heart of Times Square. They threw the first party and the tradition was born!
Now if you’re looking to partake in the big event in the heart of Times Square, you’ve got options that don’t require standing around all night. Of course, we’re fans of waiting until midnight to watch it live on TV, but if you’re out and about you can always turn on fake ball drops courtesy of Netflix as the perfect pregame to get you in the zone!