Times Square and the Waterford Times Square Ball

 

At the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets is Times Square, a major commercial intersection and neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan, New York. Brightly adorned with billboards and advertisements, sometimes referred to as The Crossroads of the World, it is one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections.

Times Square is also one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated fifty million visitors annually. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, many of them tourists, while over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days. It is also the hub of the Broadway Theater District and a major center of the world's entertainment industry.

Times-Square-Ball-1Times Square is the site of the annual New Year's Eve ball drop. According to Wikipedia, about one million revelers crowd Times Square for the New Year's Eve celebrations, more than twice the usual number of visitors the area usually receives daily. However, for the millennium celebration on December 31, 1999, published reports stated approximately two million people overflowed Times Square, flowing from 6th Avenue to 8th Avenue and all the way back on Broadway and Seventh Avenues to 59th Street, making it the largest gathering in Times Square since August 1945 during celebrations marking the end of World War II.

Times-Square-3On December 31, 1907, a ball signifying New Year's Day was first dropped at Times Square, and the Square has held the main New Year's celebration in New York City ever since. On that night, hundreds of thousands of people congregate to watch the Waterford Crystal ball being lowered on a pole atop the building, marking the start of the new year. It replaced a lavish fireworks display from the top of the building that was held from 1904 to 1906, but stopped by city officials because of the danger of fire.

Beginning in 1908, and for more than eighty years thereafter, Times Square sign maker Artkraft Strauss was responsible for the ball-lowering. During World War II, a minute of silence, followed by a recording of church bells pealing, replaced the ball drop because of wartime blackout restrictions. Today, Countdown Entertainment and One Times Square handle the New Year's Eve event in conjunction with the Times Square Alliance.

Times-Square-BallA new energy-efficient LED ball debuted for the arrival of 2008, which was the centennial of the Times Square ball drop. The 2008/2009 ball was larger and has become a permanent installation as a year-round attraction, being used for celebrations on days such as Valentine's Day and Halloween.

Times-Square-4On our trip to New York this year we stayed near Times Square and walked over there quite a bit. It is quite interesting but much smaller than it looks on TV. The neon was amazing though and I was surprised to see all the movie cartoon characters walking around trying to get people to give them money to take their picture with them. Kind of crazy, Felt like I was at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in LA.

Times-Square-HorseWe did have fun walking around though, and even saw a policeman on horseback as we were walking to the Majestic to see the Phantom of the Opera. There was just a magic you could feel in the air. However I never did get what the big deal was. I guess I have been to Las Vegas too many times, lol. The novelty of big buildings with lots of lights and neon doesn’t have the same affect, lol. All in all, I was glad to see it and we did enjoy dinner at the Hard Rock CafÉ one night and Guys American Kitchen & Bar another night.

Times-Square-Hard-RockThe highlight definitely was being able to see the Waterford Times Square Ball way up on top of the One Times Square Building. The ball weighs nearly 12,000 pounds and is 12 feet in diameter. Seventy-three steps up from the building's 21st floor is the rooftop where the ball rests on top of the roof's metal grate floor, which makes the ball look like the size of a golf ball. It always looks so big on TV, lol.

Times-Square-Ball-2This year it will be cool watching it on TV and being able to recognize some of the things around Times Square and remember our trip. If you haven’t been to Times Square, it is definitely worth seeing one day.  Here is a picture of us across from the Majestic where we saw the Phantom! We had a great trip and I feel in love with the city of New York, We will definitely be back! Thoughts, comments? 

Times-Square-Us

 

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Great post and brings back fond memories!  There's nothing quite like Time Square and, as the saying goes, a "nice place to visit but wouldn't want to live there".  

Thanks for sharing this, Samantha!

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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