New Year’s Day and the New York Times

Times_SquarePat here:

 Were you one of the billion people to stay up New Year’s Eve to watch the ball drop over Times Square? Do you know who started this idiocy? The New York Times, that’s who.

At the turn of the 20th century, the NYT bought property in what was then called Long Acre Square (after London’s carriage district). Originally, the square was a large open horse market with dreary tenements surrounding it. But once electricity and public transit were installed, the area became a hot market. In 1903, the New York Times started building the second largest tower in the city at the time. Once it was complete, it apparently took very little arm twisting for the newspaper to persuade the city to rename the square after itself, and Times Square came into existence. In celebration, in 1904, the Times threw a huge block party on New Year’s Eve, well, huge for back then, anyway. The theater district consisted of maybe one theater, but they celebrated with music and fireworks every New Year’s Eve—until the city banned fireworks in 1907. In their place, an engineer built a 700 lb wood and iron ball illuminated by a hundred lights to drop from a flagpTimes Square Ball Drop by Michelleyyy is licensed under CC BY 2.0ole at midnight. And the tradition began!

Within a decade, the Times outgrew its skyscraper. That towering, skinny NYT office building offered prime real estate for advertising, especially for the theaters crowding into the area. A giant news ticker went up in 1928, and ultimately, the huge sides of the building started the trend of Times Square flashing advertisements. Today the building is mostly empty but the party and the crystal ball drop have become world famous. Nothing like a good party for creating a tourist attraction!

Did you watch the ball drop? If not, how did you celebrate the new year?

Image: Bernt Rostad from Oslo, Norway

60 thoughts on “New Year’s Day and the New York Times”

  1. I grew up in New York City, and when I was very young we would open the front door and bang pots and pans. Lots of noise and fun for us kids.
    I went to Times Square once, when I was a young adult. Long wait, too cold and achy feet, but I could check that off as ‘been there, done that’.
    I do watch the ball drop, as it takes me back home, to a city I love.
    Happy New Year to all you wonderful, friendly, informative Wenches whose books bring us so much pleasure.

    Reply
  2. I grew up in New York City, and when I was very young we would open the front door and bang pots and pans. Lots of noise and fun for us kids.
    I went to Times Square once, when I was a young adult. Long wait, too cold and achy feet, but I could check that off as ‘been there, done that’.
    I do watch the ball drop, as it takes me back home, to a city I love.
    Happy New Year to all you wonderful, friendly, informative Wenches whose books bring us so much pleasure.

    Reply
  3. I grew up in New York City, and when I was very young we would open the front door and bang pots and pans. Lots of noise and fun for us kids.
    I went to Times Square once, when I was a young adult. Long wait, too cold and achy feet, but I could check that off as ‘been there, done that’.
    I do watch the ball drop, as it takes me back home, to a city I love.
    Happy New Year to all you wonderful, friendly, informative Wenches whose books bring us so much pleasure.

    Reply
  4. I grew up in New York City, and when I was very young we would open the front door and bang pots and pans. Lots of noise and fun for us kids.
    I went to Times Square once, when I was a young adult. Long wait, too cold and achy feet, but I could check that off as ‘been there, done that’.
    I do watch the ball drop, as it takes me back home, to a city I love.
    Happy New Year to all you wonderful, friendly, informative Wenches whose books bring us so much pleasure.

    Reply
  5. I grew up in New York City, and when I was very young we would open the front door and bang pots and pans. Lots of noise and fun for us kids.
    I went to Times Square once, when I was a young adult. Long wait, too cold and achy feet, but I could check that off as ‘been there, done that’.
    I do watch the ball drop, as it takes me back home, to a city I love.
    Happy New Year to all you wonderful, friendly, informative Wenches whose books bring us so much pleasure.

    Reply
  6. I saw it on tv as a kid but it’s probably been over 20 years since I’ve seen the ball drop or watched any type of celebration. I prefer to stay home with a good book or spend the evening with friends and family, and I’m usually in bed before the new year. I get woken up by the fireworks in my neighborhood and figure that’s good enough. 🙂

    Reply
  7. I saw it on tv as a kid but it’s probably been over 20 years since I’ve seen the ball drop or watched any type of celebration. I prefer to stay home with a good book or spend the evening with friends and family, and I’m usually in bed before the new year. I get woken up by the fireworks in my neighborhood and figure that’s good enough. 🙂

    Reply
  8. I saw it on tv as a kid but it’s probably been over 20 years since I’ve seen the ball drop or watched any type of celebration. I prefer to stay home with a good book or spend the evening with friends and family, and I’m usually in bed before the new year. I get woken up by the fireworks in my neighborhood and figure that’s good enough. 🙂

    Reply
  9. I saw it on tv as a kid but it’s probably been over 20 years since I’ve seen the ball drop or watched any type of celebration. I prefer to stay home with a good book or spend the evening with friends and family, and I’m usually in bed before the new year. I get woken up by the fireworks in my neighborhood and figure that’s good enough. 🙂

    Reply
  10. I saw it on tv as a kid but it’s probably been over 20 years since I’ve seen the ball drop or watched any type of celebration. I prefer to stay home with a good book or spend the evening with friends and family, and I’m usually in bed before the new year. I get woken up by the fireworks in my neighborhood and figure that’s good enough. 🙂

    Reply
  11. We are in Texas and usually watch movies, not live TV on New Years Eve. No different this year except I did note the time at 11pm and said to my partner…”It’s 2022 on the East Coast” and at midnight, here, our neighbors set off fireworks (which is illegal), we toasted 2022 and continued to watch the third movie of the night.

    Reply
  12. We are in Texas and usually watch movies, not live TV on New Years Eve. No different this year except I did note the time at 11pm and said to my partner…”It’s 2022 on the East Coast” and at midnight, here, our neighbors set off fireworks (which is illegal), we toasted 2022 and continued to watch the third movie of the night.

    Reply
  13. We are in Texas and usually watch movies, not live TV on New Years Eve. No different this year except I did note the time at 11pm and said to my partner…”It’s 2022 on the East Coast” and at midnight, here, our neighbors set off fireworks (which is illegal), we toasted 2022 and continued to watch the third movie of the night.

    Reply
  14. We are in Texas and usually watch movies, not live TV on New Years Eve. No different this year except I did note the time at 11pm and said to my partner…”It’s 2022 on the East Coast” and at midnight, here, our neighbors set off fireworks (which is illegal), we toasted 2022 and continued to watch the third movie of the night.

    Reply
  15. We are in Texas and usually watch movies, not live TV on New Years Eve. No different this year except I did note the time at 11pm and said to my partner…”It’s 2022 on the East Coast” and at midnight, here, our neighbors set off fireworks (which is illegal), we toasted 2022 and continued to watch the third movie of the night.

    Reply
  16. we couldn’t find any ball drop at 9 PM our time, which would be midnight on the east coast. I might have handled that. And yes, our fireworks are totally illegal and dangerous, but I knew when the new year began, I suppose.

    Reply
  17. we couldn’t find any ball drop at 9 PM our time, which would be midnight on the east coast. I might have handled that. And yes, our fireworks are totally illegal and dangerous, but I knew when the new year began, I suppose.

    Reply
  18. we couldn’t find any ball drop at 9 PM our time, which would be midnight on the east coast. I might have handled that. And yes, our fireworks are totally illegal and dangerous, but I knew when the new year began, I suppose.

    Reply
  19. we couldn’t find any ball drop at 9 PM our time, which would be midnight on the east coast. I might have handled that. And yes, our fireworks are totally illegal and dangerous, but I knew when the new year began, I suppose.

    Reply
  20. we couldn’t find any ball drop at 9 PM our time, which would be midnight on the east coast. I might have handled that. And yes, our fireworks are totally illegal and dangerous, but I knew when the new year began, I suppose.

    Reply
  21. My husband and I played games on New Year’s Eve. (I recommend A Little Wordy as a fun word game for two players.) I can’t recall the last time I saw the ball drop, but it’s been years since we’ve had broadcast television and it doesn’t occur to me to watch it online. Thanks for sharing the history of the event, Pat!

    Reply
  22. My husband and I played games on New Year’s Eve. (I recommend A Little Wordy as a fun word game for two players.) I can’t recall the last time I saw the ball drop, but it’s been years since we’ve had broadcast television and it doesn’t occur to me to watch it online. Thanks for sharing the history of the event, Pat!

    Reply
  23. My husband and I played games on New Year’s Eve. (I recommend A Little Wordy as a fun word game for two players.) I can’t recall the last time I saw the ball drop, but it’s been years since we’ve had broadcast television and it doesn’t occur to me to watch it online. Thanks for sharing the history of the event, Pat!

    Reply
  24. My husband and I played games on New Year’s Eve. (I recommend A Little Wordy as a fun word game for two players.) I can’t recall the last time I saw the ball drop, but it’s been years since we’ve had broadcast television and it doesn’t occur to me to watch it online. Thanks for sharing the history of the event, Pat!

    Reply
  25. My husband and I played games on New Year’s Eve. (I recommend A Little Wordy as a fun word game for two players.) I can’t recall the last time I saw the ball drop, but it’s been years since we’ve had broadcast television and it doesn’t occur to me to watch it online. Thanks for sharing the history of the event, Pat!

    Reply
  26. Thanks for the post. I appreciate the knowledge. I spent the evening consoling my dog because the fireworks were so loud and went on so long. He was very frightened….and is every time we get fireworks.
    I have not watched the ball drop in quite some time.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  27. Thanks for the post. I appreciate the knowledge. I spent the evening consoling my dog because the fireworks were so loud and went on so long. He was very frightened….and is every time we get fireworks.
    I have not watched the ball drop in quite some time.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  28. Thanks for the post. I appreciate the knowledge. I spent the evening consoling my dog because the fireworks were so loud and went on so long. He was very frightened….and is every time we get fireworks.
    I have not watched the ball drop in quite some time.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  29. Thanks for the post. I appreciate the knowledge. I spent the evening consoling my dog because the fireworks were so loud and went on so long. He was very frightened….and is every time we get fireworks.
    I have not watched the ball drop in quite some time.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  30. Thanks for the post. I appreciate the knowledge. I spent the evening consoling my dog because the fireworks were so loud and went on so long. He was very frightened….and is every time we get fireworks.
    I have not watched the ball drop in quite some time.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply

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