Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Unveiled

The co-organizers of New Year’s Eve in Times Square (Times Square Alliance, Countdown Entertainment) unveiled a new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball last week at Hudson Scenic Studio in Yonkers, New York.

The New Year's Eve Ball to ring in 2009 in NYC.
The New Year's Eve Ball to ring in 2009 in NYC.

The New Year’s Eve Ball is a 12 foot geodesic sphere, double the size of previous Balls, and weighs 11,875 pounds. Covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystals and powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDS, the new Ball is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns.

The organizers also announced that the new Ball will become a year-round attraction above Times Square in public view January through December.

“For one hundred years, the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball has attracted millions of revelers to Times Square on December 31st to celebrate the beginning of the New Year” said Jeff Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment and co-organizer of Times Square New Year’s Eve. “The new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball will be a bright sparkling jewel atop One Times Square entertaining New Yorkers and tourists from around the world not only on December 31, but throughout the year.”

“The New Year’s Eve ball is bigger, better and brighter than ever, just like Times Square itself,” said Times Square Alliance president Tim Tompkins. “And like Times Square, it’s not afraid to show off. That’s why we’re proudly putting it on display year-round so visitors to the neighborhood can enjoy a true Crossroads of the World icon.”

Philips Lighting provided the new solid state lighting technology for the Ball. Capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million colors and billions of possible patterns, the 32,256 Philips Luxeon LEDs in this year’s Ball represent more than three times the number of LEDS used last year. And this year’s Ball is 10% to 20% more energy efficient than last year’s, consuming only the same amount of energy per hour as it would take to operate two traditional home ovens.

“At Philips Lighting, we are proud to be driving innovative and energy efficient solutions for the world’s broad range of lighting applications–from celebrated landmarks to consumers’ homes–and we’re especially delighted to be the official Lighting Partner to the iconic New Year’s Eve Ball in Times Square,” said Philips Lighting Company director of corporate communications Susan Bloom. “Now bigger in size and incorporating even more powerful and energy-efficient Philips Luxeon LEDs than last year, this year’s Ball will deliver a New Year’s Eve experience that will be brighter, more beautiful, and more sustainable than ever before.”

Meanwhile, Focus Lighting created a lighting design that uses more than 3,500 lighting cues to orchestrate the colorful moving patterns of light radiating from the Ball. Theatrical techniques were used to show each facet of each individual crystal, making the sparkle visible whether viewed from 5’ away or 500’ from the streets of Times Square.

“We tried to create a beacon of light in the sky over Times Square,” says Paul Gregory, principal lighting designer for Focus Lighting.

These companies also provided essential contributions to the development of the new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball:

  • E:Cue Lighting Control provided lighting control system.
  • Hudson Scenic Studio provided structural engineering design and development.
  • Landmark Signs assembles and operates the Ball.
  • Lapp Group provided power and control cabling.
  • Lighting Science Group provided the 672 LED modules and technology integration.