The ball drop in Times Square is just as iconic of a New Year's Eve tradition as drinking a glass of champagne or sharing a kiss at midnight.
Whether you’re looking to head to Times Square yourself, or just plan to watch the ball drop from the comfort of your couch, here’s what you need to know about this New Year’s Eve spectacle.
How long has this NYE tradition existed?
The New Year’s Eve ball drop is more than a century-old tradition, with the first New Year’s Eve ball descending at midnight in 1907.
How big is the NYE ball?
The original 1907 ball was 500 pounds. It had 100 25-watt lightbulbs and was made of iron and wood. This year's Times Square ball, made from Waterford crystal triangles, weighs 11,875 pounds, and it is illuminated by thousands of LED lights.
Can anyone watch the ball drop in Times Square?
Watching the ball drop is a free event, but attendees have to arrive in Times Square earlier in the day and spend the rest of 2016 waiting to ring in the new year. According to the official Times Square site, New Yorkers and tourists alike begin gathering for the ball drop in the afternoon, so heading to the event as early as possible will be the best way to guarantee a spot.
Where is the best viewing location?
The sound system will be set up where Broadway and Seventh Avenue cross in Times Square, so the closer you can get to that area, the better view you will have. The Times Square Alliance says the ball can be seen best along Broadway, from 43rd to 50th streets, and along Seventh Avenue, from 43rd to 59th streets.
Police will be directing people to open viewing locations.
What can I bring to Times Square?
All attendees have to go through a security check before entering the viewing areas that are barricaded by the NYPD. Large bags and backpacks are not permitted, so don't expect to be able to bring a a lot of snacks or drinks for your wait. Though you may be on your feet for hours, public restrooms are not set up for this event.
How many people attend the Times Square event?
Though millions around the country are glued to their televisions to watch the event, approximately 1 million people attended the Times Square ball drop in 2015.
Who’s performing in Times Square this year?
“Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” will be headlined this year by Mariah Carey, who will perform in Times Square right before the ball drops. Artists including Thomas Rhett and DNCE are also slated to perform.
Can I watch the ball drop online or on TV?
A variety of major networks, including ABC, NBC and CNN, will be hosting its New Year’s Eve specials live in Times Square, showing the ball drop when the clock strikes midnight.