It’s December 31st, and I’m gearing up for New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Yes, THE Times Square. New York City, New York. Over a million people are expected to attend, in person, and over a billion to watch on television. (I’ll be the one wearing the pink hat, pink gloves and pink scarf.)
This year, there is a brand new New Year’s Eve ball, courtesy of the people at Waterford Crystal in Waterford, England. This brand new ball is 12 feet in diameter and weighs nearly 12,000 pounds. It is covered with 2,668 Waterford Crystal triangles, and it is going to be a permanent fixture on the roof of One Times Square, which is just down the street from our digs in the Sheraton on Times Square.
Originally, I tried to get us closer to the scene of the action, at the Doubletree Guest Quarters. When I called up, I asked if they still had room, and the registration clerk said, “Yes.”
“How much is a room on December 30th?” I asked.
“$699.00 a night.”
“How much is a room on December 31st, New Year’s Eve?”
“3399,” said the voice.
“$33.99?” I naively asked, my Midwestern values kicking in.
“No. Three thousand three hundred and ninety-nine dollars,” said the clerk.
“No wonder you still have rooms,” I replied, while hanging up.
For a while, I tried for the Helmsley, with its $410 a night rooms on Central Park.
It wasn’t until the son spoke up and offered up his 40,000 Starwood Points for redemption that I decided we could afford to get any room on Times Square, and we are happily ensconced at the Sheraton on Times Square in Manhattan, at 7th Avenue and 51st Street (not to be confused with the ritzier Sheraton Towers kitty-corner across the street.)
We have been watching the preparations for tomorrow night’s celebration. The creation of a permanent perch for the ball was over a year in the making and cost over $5 million to make. Because of the sphere’s massive weight and size, engineers had to build an entirely new roof and reinforce the steel columns down to the 16th floor to allow the ball to drop 141 feet to usher in the New Year tomorrow night.
Jeffrey Strauss, President of Countdown Entertainment has said that the bigger, brighter ball will remain in place to celebrate other holidays like the Fourth of July and Valentine’s Day, and Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance was quoted in an Associated Press article as saying, “Now it is going to be up there shining throughout the year. I really believe it’s going to be the next Empire State Building.”
I don’t know if Tim and Jeffrey are right, but I’m hearing about the “etiquette” of watching the ball drop, and I’ll be out there in what promises to be snow and bitter cold checking it out tomorrow night.