With only a comparatively few hours left before the ball drops in New York's Times Square, the world-famous New Year's Eve party venue has been all decked out. An estimated 1 million people will make their way to the Manhattan location, looking to welcome the New Year. And it is expected more than a billion other people will be watching the event live on television and on Livestream.
A ceremonial tradition dating back more than a hundred years will be followed at midnight EST, when a 12-foot crystal ball will be dropped from One Times Square. The ball is covered with 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles.
Among the big-name celebrities expected at Times Square are New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and pop singers Lady Gaga (a New York native) and Justin Bieber, both of whom are expected to perform for the revelers. Other attractions will include balloons, confetti showers, and fireworks.
The history of the Times Square celebrations goes back to 1903, when Adolph Ochs, owner of The New York Times, moved his newspaper's office to Longacre Square (later renamed Times Square). Ochs celebrated the move and the end of the year with a fireworks display. When fireworks were banned in 1907, an electrician designed a heavy ball with 100 lightbulbs, which was dropped from a flagpole at midnight on Dec. 31.
There is expected to be a significant security presence during the night to thwart potential terrorist attacks. The city's security agencies will deploy sharpshooters in addition to regular police officers.