Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Time Square New Year's Eve Ball

It all began in 1907 when the first ball dropped slowly down a iron flag pole just before midnight on New Years Eve at 1 Time Square. The ball, made of iron and wood and covered with 100 25 watt bight bulbs, weighed 700 pounds and was five feet in diameter and was constructed by immigrant metal worker Jacob Starr.

From that moment on it became a tradition all the world would watch in the last remaining minutes of each year. The streets of Time Square in NYC would fill with thousands upon thousands of people to gaze upon the white glowing ball as it descends down a flag pole at 11:59 pm on December 31.

The only time the glowing ball didn't come down the iron pole would be in the years 1942-43 when the country was at war and NYC was practicing wartime "dim-outs". Those years would find "sound trucks" alarming chimes at the base of 1 Time Square to ring in the new year.

The ball changed throughout the years. In 1920, a 400 pound ball made entirely of iron replaced the original.

In 1955 that ball was replaced by one made of aluminum and weighed 200 pounds.

In 1980 the white lights on the glowing ball were replaced with red lights so the ball would appear to be a huge apple and the pole was painted green. This was done to celebrate the I Love NY campaign. In 1988 they changed the red lights back to the traditional white lights.

The biggest change came in 1999 when the ball was completely replaced by one by Waterford Crystal to celebrate the new millennium.

This year we will see a whole new ball fall in Time Square. The new ball is 12 feet across and weighs nearly 12 thousand pounds. It is covered with 2,668 waterford crystals and powered by 32, 256 LEDS. This will make it able to show over 16 million colors and billions of different patterns.

Trivia: The ball dropping to signal the passage of time dates back to a "time ball" atop of England's Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833. The ball would drop at 1:00 every afternoon, allowing the captains of near by ships to precisely set their chronometers (a navigational instrument). This was where the idea of dropping a ball from a pole to signal a moment of time came from.

Below is a couple of pictures of the 'new" Time Square Ball.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Vintage New Year Post Cards

I'm beginning to think I have a fascination with vintage post cards. Just by looking at these cards you could see so much art and history of that time period.
I did some research and found these awesome New Year post cards.
I hope you enjoy them!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rockefeller Christmas Tree 2008

This weekend, a few of my friends and myself ventured to NYC to see the famous Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center.

It seems that every year the tree that stands in the plaza has a story behind it. This year the tree was 77 years old and from New Jersey. The mother of the family that owned the tree always told her children that some year that tree would be used in Rockefeller Center.

The first tree that went up at this site was a little known event. It was erected in 1931 by the construction workers in who were building the plaza. It was during the great depression and to celebrate being paid on Christmas Eve (many workers went unpaid at the time) the men put up a tree and decorated it with tin cans and scrap paper.

The first "official" Rockefeller tree was put up in 1933. In 1942 there were 3 trees, dedicated to the war effort. The trees were decorated in red, white and blue. In 1944 the tree had no lights on it because of the wartime blackout regulation.

As you could see in the photos below, the tree has come a long way since the very first one in 1931 (Notice the man sitting at the wooden crate. He was there to pay the workers.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Vintage Christmas Cards

In 1843 John Horsley was commissioned to create a Christmas card for Sir Henry Cole (the first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum) because he did not have the time to write all of his friends as he had done in previous years.

The cards were created on lithographs and hand-colored. The first card was supposed to have depicted poor people being fed and clothed but instead Horsley created a family party in progress showing a child sipping wine. The original intent was to remind Sir Henry’s friends of the great needs for the persons in poverty during this season. Instead it caused an uproar for “fostering the moral corruption of children”.

It is said that Sir Henry did not send out any cards following that year but Christmas cards were already on their way. The first year 1000 cards went on sale in London for one shilling each.

This was the birth of the Christmas card. The cards have changed greatly over the years. Looking back at these cards you could see the fads and styles of the area they were created.

I put some vintage cards on my blog. I hope you enjoy!