New York in 1904 was a city on the verge of tremendous changes - and, not surprisingly, many of those changes had their genesis in the bustling energy and thronged streets of Times Square. Two innovations that would completely transform the Crossroads of the World debuted in 1904: the opening of the city's first subway line, and the first-ever celebration of New Year's Eve in Times Square. This inaugural bash commemorated the official opening of the new headquarters of The New York Times. The impressive Times Tower, marooned on a tiny triangle of land at the intersection of 7th Avenue, Broadway and 42nd Street, was at the time Manhattan's second-tallest building -- the tallest if measured from the bottom of its three massive sub-basements, built to handle the heavy weight demands of The Times' up-to-date printing equipment.
The building was the focus of an unprecedented New Year's Eve celebration. Ochs spared no expense to ensure a party for the ages. An all-day street festival culminated in a fireworks display set off from the base of the tower, and at midnight the joyful sound of cheering, rattles and noisemakers from the over 200,000 attendees could be heard, it was said, from as far away as Croton-on-Hudson, thirty miles north along the Hudson River.
The first balls:
The first New Year's Eve Ball, made of iron and wood and adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs, was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds. It was built by a young immigrant metalworker named Jacob Starr, and for most of the twentieth century the company he founded, sign maker Artkraft Strauss, was responsible for lowering the ball.
As part of the 1907-1908 festivities, waiters in the fabled "lobster palaces" and other deluxe eateries in hotels surrounding Times Square were supplied with battery-powered top hats emblazoned with the numbers "1908" fashioned of tiny light bulbs. At the stroke of midnight, they all "flipped their lids" and the year on their foreheads lit up in conjunction with the numbers "1908" on the parapet of the Times Tower lighting up to signal the arrival of the new year.
The Ball has been lowered every year since 1907, with the exceptions of 1942 and 1943, when the ceremony was suspended due to the wartime "dimout" of lights in New York City. Nevertheless, the crowds still gathered in Times Square in those years and greeted the New Year with a minute of silence followed by the ringing of chimes from sound trucks parked at the base of the tower - a harkening-back to the earlier celebrations at Trinity Church, where crowds would gather to "ring out the old, ring in the new."
In 1920, a 400 pound ball made entirely of wrought iron replaced the original. In 1955, the iron ball was replaced with an aluminum ball weighing a mere 200 pounds. This aluminum Ball remained unchanged until the 1980s, when red light bulbs and the addition of a green stem converted the Ball into an apple for the "I Love New York" marketing campaign from 1981 until 1988. After seven years, the traditional glowing white Ball with white light bulbs and without the green stem returned to brightly light the sky above Times Square. In 1995, the Ball was upgraded with aluminum skin, rhinestones, strobes, and computer controls, but the aluminum ball was lowered for the last time in 1998.
For Times Square 2000, the millennium celebration at the Crossroads of the World, the New Year's Eve Ball was completely redesigned by Waterford Crystal. The new crystal Ball combined the latest in technology with the most traditional of materials, reminding us of our past as we gazed into the future and the beginning of a new millennium.
The Ball was a geodesic sphere, six feet in diameter, and weighed approximately 1,070 pounds. It was covered with a total of 504 Waterford crystal triangles that varied in size and ranged in length from 4.75 inches to 5.75 inches per side.
I can't believe Christmas is almost here. After fighting past the tourists daily on the streets, braving the cold for some holiday market excitement, and our giant snowstorm last weekend it's finally almost here.
I hope everyone has a merry holiday and spends it surrounded by love, I know I will.
Unfortunately I've had some problems lately and I don't have a choice anymore and have an appointment tomorrow. Last time it equaled hospital visit + neurologist and not really any relief, so I'm trying to keep my mind off of it. I figured what better way than with some quality eye candy - this time with a little medical spin.
A few months back I started taking ballet again, thankfully with other adults and in a low level class that doesn't cause much pressure for me. Surprisingly with my lack of grace I've actually fallen back into it pretty well and am loving every second of it.
I'm sure you're wondering where this rambling is leading - well I saw this trailer the other day for the movie "La danse - Le ballet de l'Opéra de Paris" and it made me really excited (this compounded on the fact that its super ballet season in NYC and all I really want to do is go back and see something again this year).
So in my love of ballet I thought I'd throw out some eye candy, including art related images since most people only know about Degas painting (and sculpting) ballerinas....
In case you want to ride the train as well, you can get the times it leaves from both ends of the line here. Give about 2 minutes between each stop on the line should you want to catch it from somewhere else.
From the Telegraph UK:
Monocles to be sold on High Street
Vision Express, a chain of opticians, is to start selling the lenses after an unexpected spate of requests for monocles.
It believes most of the requests have come from young men wanting to ape the fashion of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers.
The eyepieces cost £50 and come with a metal frame, a pouch, and a string so the wearer ensures it stays around his or her neck if it slips.
Read more of the article here
It's hard to believe it's been since August that I have written in here. I did truly enjoy my blog (as I hoped others did as well), it's just that I got so darn busy!!
As I've mentioned before, I work for a large, world renowned museum. I LOVE my job, and sometimes it can get a little crazy in my life. For the past few months I have been working on the Tim Burton exhibition that recently opened and had an amazing good time. I think we reached around 700 pieces of drawings, costumes, figures, almost anything that you can think of. It was a lot of work, but it looks so amazing that it's truly worth having had to part with my lovely blog for a few months.
Since I didn't shoot pictures during install (except my one of me and Edward below) I had to find a couple pictures to show you all.
You can see all about the exhibition including info on all the movie screenings on MoMA's website here