I began to think about the all famous party held each year in Times Square. The night culminates with the famous, and now energy efficient, ball drop at midnight. But why a ball drop? The origin, as you would probably assume, relates to timekeeping. A time-ball was typically a wooden or metal ball that would be lowered at a predetermined time. This was primarily done for ship captains, starting in the early to mid 19th century. The first time-ball was constructed in 1829 in Portsmouth, England. With its success, in 1833, England’s official time-ball was erected atop the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. The ball would be lowered each day at precisely 1:00 PM so ship captains could set their chronometers, a navigational device used to determine longitude at sea (so sorry, no GPS for you!).
At the climax of this technology, over 150 of these devices were constructed. However, with the advent of radio and other more precise navigational devices, most of the stations were razed in the 1920’s. The United States Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. carries on this seafaring tradition each day as a time-ball is lowered from a flagpole each day at noon.
But as we all know, so many towns across our country have created their own ball drop tradition for so many various reasons. By far the most famous New Year’s Eve event is the New York City Times Square ball drop. The first New Years Eve celebration was held in New York occurred in 1904 in the newly named Times Square (which is really a triangle).
In 1907, the first lighted ball drop was held and continued until 1942. From 1942-1943, the lighted Times Square ball drop was discontinued due to WW II. After 1943, the now famous Times Square Drop has only become larger and more festive event. While New York City may hold claim to the most famous New Year’s Eve celebration, cites and towns across the United States hold other endearing festivities.
I would be remorse without first mentioning Atlanta’s own New Year’s Eve celebration. Of course it is first noted as the southeast’s largest New Year’s Eve Event, the Peach Drop held at Underground Atlanta has become a destination event for some reason. Moreover, in typical Atlanta fashion, it should be noted this event is the second largest New Year’s Eve celebration in the nation.
While New York and Atlanta have their now expected New Year’s Eve “droppings”, there are many other similar such events held all over the country. Some of my favorites include:
Mt. Olive, NC: A Lighted Pickle
My Favorite Brasstown, NC: If You Can Look Very Closely Inside That Cage You May See The Live Annual Possum Drop
It was a blast and thanks to everyone that came over. Really, you guys have helped make 2009 a great year for us….So now what is in store for 2010?