Vintage Snapshots of Times Square and the New Year's Eve Ball

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No, it's not about a fancy dinner-dance or a masquerade party for New Year's Eve. We're talking about the centuries-old tradition held in New York's Times Square at the turn of a fresh, new year.

In a few days, the world will welcome the new year with many exciting celebrations, festivities, and age-old traditions. One of the most popular spots where New Year’s countdowns are held is none other than Manhattan’s Times Square in New York City.

The Times Square in its early days. Photo via Vintage Everyday

The Times Square and its immediate vicinity has witnessed many significant events in history, including the V-J Day, where Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped the iconic photograph of an American sailor kissing a young nurse in 1945. Another important Times Square event is the annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, witnessed by a crowd of up to one million people counting down to the last few seconds of the outgoing year. The first New Year’s Eve celebration with a fireworks show was held in Times Square in New Year’s Eve 1904.

The New Year’s Eve Ball in 1978. Photo by Chester Higgins Jr. via Time Magazine

The New Year’s Eve Ball, also called Times Square Ball, begins dropping from the flagpole of One Times Square building at 11:59:00 p.m. on December 31st. This signals the crowd of excited spectators to begin counting down to the last 60 seconds of the passing year. An impressive fireworks display follows the drop to mark the start of the new year. This tradition began on December 31, 1907 as an added attraction to the New Year’s Eve celebration by The New York Times, the first occupants of the Manhattan skyscraper in 1904.

Here are some more photos of Times Square and the New Year’s Eve celebrations held there from the 1950s to the 1960s:

Photos via Media Bistro, All Posters, and Vintage Times Square Set on Flickr

To see how much the iconic Times Square has changed over the decades, here’s a nice evolution clip for you to watch:

Information for this article were taken from Times Square Ball on Wikipedia and One Times Square on Wikipedia.

written by plasticpopsicle on 2011-12-30 in #lifestyle

10 Comments

  1. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    I really like the B&Ws here.

  2. nerpman
    nerpman ·

    My grandfather told me he was in Times Square for new year's 1938. I went in 2006. It's hard to imagine they're the exact same place, the evolution of New York City is astounding.

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