New Year’s Eve. December 31, 2009. 11:59 p.m.
All eyes are inevitably turned to the iconic glowing ball as it begins to drop, slowly but surely signaling the approaching new year less than a minute away. The ball dropping has been a tradition for more than a century, seeing its first descent in 1907. Since then, the ball has seen a number of faces, its most recent unveiled just last year. And as the ball comes to a landing, its lights are diminished and four numbers light up revealing the numerical designation for the new year — 2010.
This year, its the number lights that get the overhaul. Instead of using 40-watt halogen bulbs as in years prior, all four digits of the new sign will be illuminated by 9-watt light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The two new digits, “1″ and “0″, were ceremoniously delivered by pedicab last Wednesday.
In addition to the new sign numbers, the ball itself is also getting some work done. Two-hundred eighty-eight Waterford Crystal triangles were installed in the geodesic sphere with the new “Let There Be Courage” design. In total, the ball is covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystals and powered by 32,256 LEDs. As such, the Times Square Alliance writes: “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 atop One Times Square.”
The ball weighs 11,875 pounds.
[photo: Times Square Alliance]