Times Square New Year's Eve Entertainment

The main focus for the crowd gathered in Times Square was the old New York Times building, with the glowing six-foot diameter ball up a pole.   But the ball wasn't what people were watching, it was the three giant TV screens on the face of the building.   The one at the top measures sixty feet by forty feet.   How do I know that?   Because it was one of the "Times Square Trivia" questions which periodically came up (example: "Who started the ball drop tradition: (1) mayor Ed Kochs (2) Arthur Ochs (3) Pee Wee Herman").

Times Square Trivia photo (12K)
Cheer if you're cold  (23K)

Here are a couple of other attempts at using the giant TVs to induce audience participation...

"Cheer if you're cold!"

"Cheer if you're having a good time!"

Cheer if you're having a good time (30K)
The Pee Ball (21K)

Even before it had become dark, large beach balls had appeared from someplace, and these also keep the desperately bored crowd from losing its mind.

A couple of groups of young people around us had their own alcoholic entertainment and nature soon took its course, meaning that areas of the street were at a hygiene level somewhat lower than customarily anticipated in a civilized society.   When the ball landed in these areas and became airborne again, it became known locally as "the pee ball", and great amusement was had when unsuspecting members of the crowd batted the ball around.   Ignorance, as they say, is bliss.

You can see a large set of loudspeakers to the left and just above the ball, but they were hardly used all night, except to play one Beatles song, which the crowd loved.   I figure they didn't play more songs, because it would have interfered with the "official" entertainment, described below.

Later, a number of large globes were released marked with countries of the world.

Earth Balls and the Time Ball (28K)
closeup of Earth Ball (26K)

I didn't get to see whether New Zealand was on it, but that's probably just as well, because I've already seen enough grotesque depictions of New Zealand in America.

To keep the crowd hyped, every hour there were televised clips of Midnight celebrations from different countries around the world, as they happened.

Midnight somewhere, but not here (46K)

Very near the end, one of the local radio stations started handing out tinsel wigs and balloons, which were gratefully received.   I was a little less enthusiastic, because it became a little more difficult to get photographs.

crowd with balloons and tinsel wigs (65K)

The official entertainment in Times Square centered around a stage near the front, which is the large pink structure in this photo, to the right of the New York Times building.   The peculiar, horizontal, white diaphonous thing in front of the pink structure is a giant puppet of Father Time, suspended on poles.

Actually, the only reason that I knew that Father Time was around was because he was being televised on the giant screen.  I could just see him if I was on tiptoes, and I had to lift my camera high above my head to get this photo.   I reckon that only about two thousand of the estimated two million who were actually present could see what was happening on the stage (figure it out - that's one tenth of one percent of the supposed audience).   The stage show was really for the benefit of television viewers sitting at home!

millenium baby with rocket pack (25K)

And if you look hard, you can see the Millenium Baby puppet, complete with diaper and functional rocket pack on his back!

But lo and behold, out of all the dozens of puppet acts which wended their way around the stage area, one took pity on the Great Unwashed Masses and actually came down to us!

However, gentle reader, as I mentioned earlier there were amongst us those whose minds were somewhat altered by alcoholic beverages, and I know from the smell that there were also people experiencing a chemically enhanced light show, and it seems that perhaps some of these folk took fright with our giant monkey friend, and tried to beat him off with balloons!