Be There at Times Square!

The most American way for ESL students to experience New Year’s Eve is to go to Times Square in New York to watch the ball drop at “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” This party is the premiere way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in America. If you’re like Hancock International College and can’t fly to New York you can watch the amazing interviews and live performances on TV and dream of being there. But when the countdown started and the ball dropped this year I wanted to find out everything about the famous Times Square Ball. Here’s what pbs.org had to say about this interesting and amazing tradition!
“Every year as the clock nears midnight on Dec. 31, the eyes of the world turn to the dazzling lights and bustling energy of Times Square. But why do Americans drop a ball on New Year’s Eve? It started off as a solution to light up the New York sky without the hazard of fireworks… Dropping a ball on New Year’s Eve is a wholly American tradition to count down the last fleeting moments.

The first ball dropped at midnight on New Year’s Eve remains the most famous: the one on top of One Times Square in New York City.” (Pbs.com)

“With the creation of standard time, time balls were invented so that sailors could adjust their chronometers, or timepieces, while at sea… It was one of these time balls that became the inspiration for… a unique finale to the city’s end-of-the-year party. The ball was redesigned as new technology and materials became available… Over the decades, aluminum has replaced iron and halogen lamps and then light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, replaced incandescent bulbs. Some balls have had rhinestones, strobe lights or rotating pyramid mirrors. Computer controls were added in 1995.

What distinguishes the current ball from earlier predecessors is the multitude of lights and crystals. At 11,875 pounds and 12 feet in diameter, the Big Ball has 2,688 Waterford Crystals that refracts the light of 32,256 Philips LEDs….Technology may have changed since that first drop, but the resulting spectacle has not. At 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, the Times Square Ball will start to descend 70 feet. As it comes halfway below the numerals of the New Year, the ball will go dark, the numbers will light up and the [new] year …will dawn in New York.”

One quote from a party goer read, “I can’t think of any other event or celebration where you have 100 million Americans doing the same thing at the same time together. Wherever you are — out at a party, out with your friends, if you are home with your family — when that ball starts to drop, we all stop and count down those final seconds of the year. It really brings us all together.” (Pbs.org)

Read the full article here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/having-a-ball-the-history-behind-american-new-years-eve-celebrations/

Idiom of the Day

Drop the Ball

Meaning: to make a blunder; to fail in some way.

Example: Everything was going fine in the election until my campaign manager dropped the ball. You can’t trust John to do the job right. He’s always dropping the ball.