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Times Square New Years Eve

Here's how Times Square became 'the place to be' on New Year's Eve


Updated December 31, 2018 03:21 PM EST

Editor's note: This article was first published Dec. 30, 2016. We're bringing it back today because it's New Year's Eve once again!

WASHINGTON (CIRCA) — Since 1904, thousands of people have converged on Times Square in New York City to ring in the new year. 

But did you know the first New Year's Eve celebration there commemorated the official opening of The New York Times headquarters? 

The paper's owner, Adolph Ochs, lobbied the city to rename the square in honor of the publication. The festivities that year included fireworks and plenty of cheers from the more than 200,000 attendees, according to the event's website

YouTube: 1904. The History of New Year's Eve In Times Square

The night was such a success that Times Square became "the place to be" on New Year's Eve. It replaced Lower Manhattan's Trinity Church as the city's hot spot to ring in the new year. 

But it wasn't until two years later that the famous ball drop made its debut. 

Times Square New Years Eve
Revelers wend their way in New York's Times Square to ring in the New Year, Jan. 1, 1942. An estimated half million turned out to celebrate. (AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman)

When the city banned fireworks, the owner of The New York Times arranged for a large, illuminated, 700-pound iron-and-wood ball to be lowered at midnight. 

The New York Times relocated in 1914, but by then, Times Square had already made an historical imprint as the place for Americans to ring in the new year. 

And, as you well know, hundred of thousands stand in the cold each year waiting for midnight to arrive. 

What should your New Year's resolution be this year?

But not everyone is into standing in the freezing cold to watch the ball drop. 

Here are just a few unique ways people across the country ring in the new year. 

In Brasstown, North Carolina, a live opossum is lowered in a box from a pole outside a convenience store. The unique drop draws a crowd every year, but the store has faced backlash from animal rights groups in the past. 

This year's event starts at 9:30 p.m. at Clay's Corner. 

At the stroke of midnight in Key West, Florida, Sushi the drag queen is lowered from the balcony of the Bourbon Street Pub in a giant, red high heel. 

When the event first started in 1996, Sushi's heel was fashioned out of chicken wire and paper mache, according to Atlas Obscura.

YouTube: Raw: Drag Queen Drop Starts 2015 in Key West

Since, an auto mechanic has re-imagined the shoe to make it more durable.

Las Cruces, New Mexico, has a 15-foot chile that's lowered on New Year's Eve.

For all you Georgia peaches, did you know you can watch an 800-pound Peach Drop in Atlanta?

In Plymouth, Wisconsin, an 80-pound wedge of cheese is lowered from a fire truck. This year's event will be the 10th annual Plymouth Cheese Drop. 

So, why cheese? Well, an estimated 15 percent of the cheese consumed in the United States moves through Plymouth. And, according to ABC affiliate WKOW-TV, two years ago, the town was dubbed the "Cheese Capital of the World."

So, whether you're headed to Times Square or just enjoying your own unique, local celebration, have a safe and happy new year!

US New Years Eve
Confetti and other debris are seen in New York's Times Square early New Year's Day Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)


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