Degrees Drop Along with Ball in NYC

For the 114th consecutive year, the sparkling crystal ball dropped last night in New York city’s Times Square. The event ushers in the new year with a final countdown, fireworks, confetti and, this year, an estimated 2 million revelers enduring freezing conditions.

It was the second-coldest celebration on record in New York city with a temperature of only 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 12 Celsius) in the city.

Perhaps due to the cold—or recent domestic terrorist activity—the event was less crowded than other years. Those who came were bundled up in hats, gloves, face masks and numerous layers of clothing. Even with all the layers and the cold, partygoers danced, hugged and kissed in the new year as the ball dropped.

This year, the ball was 12 feet (3.5 meters) in diameter, weighing 11,875 pounds (5,385 kilograms) and was covered with 2,688 triangles that change colors like a kaleidoscope, illuminated by 32,256 LED lights. When the first ball drop happened in 1904, it was made of iron and wood and adorned with 100 25-watt light bulbs. The first celebration in the area was in 1904, the year the city's first subway line started running.

The frostiest ball drop on record was 1 degree Fahrenheit (minus 17 Celsius) in 1907. In 1962 it was just 11 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 12 Celsius) outside, and in 1939 and 2008 it was 18 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8 Celsius).

Just minutes after midnight, partygoers started to drain from the area as if a giant tub stopper had been pulled up. And the cleanup began, led by a small army of city employees including more than 200 sanitation workers, who clear the area of confetti and other garbage. Crews removed more than 44 tons (40 metric tons) of debris last year.

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