The Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball gets ready for its closeup


Times Square has had a (relatively) quiet New Year’s Eve over the last two years.

COVID-19 closed the 2020-to-2021 party to the public, and last year’s celebration was severely scaled back due to the omicron variant tearing through the city.

As of this writing, however, it looks like this Saturday night’s (rainy?) celebration is on, full force, with hordes of revelers penned in with their logo-emblazoned freebies, a full slate of performers hosted by two different network TV shows and, of course, the dropping of the iconic New Year’s Eve Ball at midnight.

The Waterford Crystal Ball — or, technically, the Waterford Crystal geodesic sphere — sits on the roof of 1 Times Sq. all year long, mostly unnoticed despite being 12 feet in diameter and weighing some 11,875 pounds.

But since an estimated 1 billion people watch it drop on TV and online for that single minute between 11:59 p.m. and midnight, this morning a crew of technicians went up there to update the ball’s party outfit with 192 new crystal triangles etched with a design evoking “The Gift of Love.”

“Ten years ago we introduced the ‘greatest gifts’ series,” Tom Brennan, a master artisan for Waterford Crystal, told Gothamist. “And each and every year, we’ve got a brand new theme, and a brand new inspiration and aspiration, and this year is the final year of the 10-year cycle.”

Previous “gifts” have included wisdom, goodwill, happiness, fortitude and serenity.

Down on the street on New Year’s Eve, Duran Duran, New Edition, Jax and Ava Max of “Sweet But Psycho” fame will be entertaining Times Square’s huddled masses in the hours before the drop. Other live acts include the the NYC dance group ANEW, Sino-American Friendship Association with a “cultural performance” called “Fusion, Motion, Inspiration – Hong Kong Rocks!,” Osmani García and Sech for Univision, and Chelsea Cutler — who, in addition to an early set, will sing John Lennon’s “Imagine” right before midnight.

Times Square has hosted a ball drop since 1907, missing only two countdowns during the World War II dim-outs. The first ball was made from iron and wood, illuminated by 100 25-watt light bulbs. There have been six other iterations since. The one up there now features 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles, lit by 32,256 LEDs capable of displaying more than 16 million colors.

Asked if Waterford’s “Gift of Love” was especially needed in 2023, Brennan was quick to reply that “it’s very relevant right now, but it’s always relevant. Because if you don’t have love, if you don’t have hope, you don’t have anything. If you surround yourself with love you can give love, it just makes everybody a better person. If you open your heart and let love in, yes it will happen.”


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