Brief History of The New Year's Eve Ball

Since 1906, it has dropped in Times Square to usher in the New Year. This year's ball is the biggest yet

Chester Higgins Jr. / New York Times / Redux

Times Square's New Years Eve Ball, 1978

When the New York Times officially opened its new headquarters in Times Square in 1904, owner Alfred Ochs not only convinced the city to rename the intersection formerly known as Longacre Square, but he also threw a grand party to commemorate the milestone. The New Year's Eve soiree started with an all-day street festival, transitioned to a fireworks display ending with cheers at midnight from the crowd of more than 200,000. Previous New Year's Eve celebrations typically took place outside of Old Trinity Church in Manhattan's financial district. But by contemporary standards these weren't parties at all because there was no...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!