On the rooftop of One Times Square, as has been the case almost every year since 1907, a crew of electricians and technicians have been busy getting everything ready for the climatic moment of the biggest New Year’s Eve party on the planet, the dropping of the ball to mark the exact moment 2018 flips to 2019 here in NYC.
On Thursday afternoon Gothamist was invited 405 feet above the Crossroads of the World to witness the (staged) installation of the final two Waterford-crystal-laden panels on the iconic ball. This is the seventh iteration of the celebratory sphere, and it's an impressive beast, with a twelve-foot diameter, weighing 11,875 pounds, and covered in 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles.
Only 192 of those crystals are new for this year's design, called The Gift of Harmony. "From individual notes, musicians magically produce beautiful chords," says the press release. "Like music’s harmonic chords, the gift of harmony seeks the refuge of accord and compatibility amid the discourse of the world for the betterment of all." And while that seems particularly apt for 2019, the theme is actually determined several years in advance. Coming up in 2023, for example: The Gift of Love.
Surrounding all those crystals embedded into the aluminum frame are 32,256 Luxeon Rebel light emitting diodes, or LEDs, in red, blue, green, and white, and together capable of displaying more than 16 million colors and billions of different patterns. It's a far cry from the original ball, which used 100 light bulbs sprouting from its wood and iron surface to entertain the masses below.
In addition to triggering the usual confetti, fireworks, and midnight kisses, the 2018-19 drop will also officially celebrate "journalism and press freedom" by honoring the charitable organization Committee to Protect Journalists. As such, several famous journalists, whose identities have not yet been revealed, will be invited on stage to push the giant crystal button that starts the sixty-second countdown.
For those of you planning on watching more than the final minute of the event, the night's performers include Snoop Dogg, Sting, Christina Aguilera, New Kids on the Block, and Robin Thicke. And if you're thinking of joining the hundreds of thousands of tourists to witness the festivities live, remember that large backpacks, alcohol, and umbrellas are among the items not permitted in the party pens.