New Year's Eve Ball in Times Square for Good

Five days 'til Party 2009!

Saturday, Dec 27, 2008  |  Updated 3:46 PM EDT
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Year in Review: Entertainment

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The New Year's Eve Ball, which will be seen by millions as it descends above Times Square to ring in 2009, is displayed at the Macy's Store in Herald Square in November.

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The Waterford Crystal ball that drops in Times Square to signal the start of the new year is being displayed at its new permanent perch.
 
Organizers of the New Year's Eve party say the bigger, brighter ball will remain in place all year atop the building at 1 Times Square to celebrate other holidays including Valentine's Day, the Fourth of July and Halloween.
 
Workers using special tools are installing the dazzling new crystal triangles on the ball.

The new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball is a 12-foot geodesic sphere, double the size of previous Balls, and weighs 11,875 pounds.  With its 2,668 Waterford Crystals and powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDS, the new Ball is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns producing a spectacular kaleidoscope effect.

And even after the ball drops on New Year's Eve, it's going to stay on the roof of One Times Square as a tourist attraction.  

"Now it is going to be up there shining throughout the year," said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. "I really believe it's going to be the next Empire State Building."
 
The project of creating a permanent perch for the ball took a year to complete and cost about $5 million, said Jeffrey Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment, which is co-producing the event.
 
Because of the massive sphere's weight and size, engineers had to build an entire new roof structure and reinforce the steel columns going down to the 16th floor, Straus said. The ball will drop from a 141-foot mast that was also specially made and taller than the mast used previously.
 
Organizers said they will test the ball on Dec. 30 and light it the following day. The ball will be raised midway up the mast on Jan. 6, where it will stay until the next new year's celebration.
 
Straus said the bigger, brighter ball will remain in place all year atop the building to celebrate other holidays including Valentine's Day, the Fourth of July and Halloween.
 
For its New Year's Eve debut, workers used special tools to install the new crystal triangles on the ball and spent four weeks getting the structure ready.
 
The crystal triangles, with cuts on both sides to maximize light refraction, feature a new "Let There Be Joy" design, depicting an angel with uplifted arms. The triangles were fabricated in Ireland. More than 32,000 LEDs will be used to illuminate the ball.
 
"God knows we need some joy coming into this new year," Waterford spokesman Peter R. Cheyney said. "That's the truth."

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