As far as the eye can see. People. Side by side, shoulder to shoulder. Together on a tiny piece of earth. All looking up to the sky. Another 3, 2, 1 second. Then heaven disappears. The sky is on fire. A roar fills the air. Screams are everywhere. What came up yesterday, has now come down. Gone are the old days. Born a New Year. The ball has dropped and on this cold night, one million black, red, yellow and white people warm themselves on the sweet sound of The Voice, singing ‘New York, New York.’

New Year’s Eve in the Big Apple, that’s a guarantee for goose bumps. December 31st, 10 AM the streets leading to Times Square start to fill up with people. Thousands of law enforcers, kilometers of fences and decades of experience in crowd control all come together to unite the old with the new. Every time another ‘block’ opens, the crowd rushes forward, slowly paving 7th Avenue and Broadway with 1 million party people. All with their eyes on a tiny, glowing ball.

‘The Ball’ is a legacy of the enterprise that christened Times Square: The New York Times. The newspaper held office here at the start of the previous century when the square was called Longacre Square. In 1907 the first ball was ‘dropped’ off the Times building. Over a hundred would follow.

The first time you lay your eyes on ‘the ball’, you either be disappointed or amused. It is hard to imagine billions around the globe are aware of the things existence, let alone one million of them are willing to stand for hours in the freezing New York winter to see the thing drop. All for this merely 1,5 meter in diameter ping pong ball in a country where most things are big and mighty.

But no worries. Big and mighty do apply to what happens when the clock starts its countdown to a new year. When Lady Gaga, Psy, Jay Z or Coldplay perform live and, just before the ball starts to drop, a million voices join to sing John Lennon’s evergreen, Imagine. All those people. Singing together in peace. You might think you are dreaming. And hey, you’re not the only one. But when 999.999 join you. The world has become one.

When the last notes of Imagine die out, tears have made their way to the ground and total strangers stand hand in hand, the Ball descends. 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6…a few more secs…5, 4, 3…everybody screams… 2, 1…the world explodes. For a moment Times Square is the epicenter of a small earthquake. Fireworks go up, ticker tape comes down and perfectly timed, just when everybody takes a deep breath, ‘old blue eyes’ ode to this amazing city comes rolling down the streets.

It’s 00.01. New Year’s Eve. Close your eyes and Imagine. One million people dancing and singing: ‘I want to be a part of it, New York, New York.’

New Year’s Eve
Times Square
New York City
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