The First New Year's Eve Ball Drop In Times Square
When we think of celebrating New Year’s Eve in New York City, we think of the crowds in Times Square gathering to watch the ball drop. However, the annual celebration wasn’t always held there, and it didn’t always involve the dropping of a ball. Prior to Times Square becoming the place to be when ringing in the new year, the annual celebration occurred outside of Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan. In 1846, Trinity Church was built for the third time and had a full octave of bells in the belfry. The bells that literally rang in the new year were joined by the cacophony of tin horns in 1885.
However, in 1904, when the new headquarters of The New York Times opened, Adolph Ochs, the newspaper’s owner, convinced the city to rename Longacre Square after the newspaper. At the time, Times Tower at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway, and 42nd Street was the second tallest building in New York when measured from the bottom of the four sub-basements, which housed the printing equipment. That first New Year’s Eve celebration in what had become Times Square began with a street celebration that lasted all day. The celebration ended with a firework display rather than bells to ring in the new year; it was said that the noise made by the more than 200,000 attendees as midnight arrived could be heard as far as 30 miles north of the city in Croton-on-Hudson. With the success of the party in Times Square, Trinity Church lost its honor as the place to welcome in the new year.