'08's Ball Brightest in 100 Years

Times Square orb hits centennial
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2007 2:41 PM CST
A new Times Square crystal ball is displayed during a press preview in Yonkers, N.Y., Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007. The new ball is more than twice as bright as it's predecessor with enhanced color capabilities...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The ball you watch drop in Times Square at midnight will be twice as bright as any of its predecessors, the New York Times reports, to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The first ball rang in 1908 with 216 light bulbs stuck to its 5-foot iron frame. Tonight, 1,200 pounds of crystal, aluminum, and LEDs will shine 30,000 watts across the crossroads of the world.

The intervening years have seen dozens of ball designs, from the apple-shaped '80s phase to last year’s porcupine-esque halogen device. On the ground, a huge entertainment event has sprung up even as terror concerns tighten security. The throng is “more of a tourist crowd than 10 years ago,” said the police commissioner. “Years ago, it was a lot of waiting and a lot of drinking.”