The New Year's Ball Drop in NYC

Learn the History of the New Year's Ball Drop in NYC. How did it start and how did it become an attraction for millions of people worldwide?

Start listening at minute 10:05.

Let’s move on to the topic of the day, which is why a ball is dropped at Times Square on New Year’s. 

As I mentioned, every year millions of people watch on TV as a giant ball is lowered from the top of a building in Times Square, New York. The tradition of watching the ball drop is common across the United States, even oftentimes in the middle of a raging New Year’s Eve party, people will turn on a live streaming of the event in Times Square just to see the ball be lowered and count down, sometimes from 60, sometimes from 10, with the crowd in New York. 

So before researching this episode, I never asked why we lower a ball in New York City. Fortunately, on the official Times Square website, I was able to find a short and wonderful video that answered the exact question of why the ball is dropped. I’ve decided to retell this story to you in my own way. So let’s begin. 

One of the reasons why Times Square is called Times Square is because it was named after the first building there, which was for The New York Times newspaper. 

The New York Times newspaper decided in 1904 that they wanted to move up to what is now Times Square, which had no buildings. Everyone thought they were crazy. They said, how do you plan on delivering newspapers if your building is all the way up there, you will be so far away from everybody and everything. 

But The New York Times was actually thinking ahead. There was a rail line or a metro line being built up to that area and so they were the first to actually use it. 

They had a printing press underground where they printed the newspapers and then they would send those newspapers south, to the south part of Manhattan. And they were able to actually deliver more newspapers than some of their competitors. They were able to get their newspapers out quicker. And so The New York Times grew in popularity. 

But the thing is, in 1904, they still wanted to get more recognition. So they decided that they wanted to throw a big party, the New Year’s Eve party. 

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Shana - ESL Teacher

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