New York City's New Year's Eve Ball Drop Is Going Virtual. Here's How You Can Tune In.

Today's New Year's Eve Ball, the fourth since the event's conception, is made of 2,688 pieces of crystal and 32, 256 LED lights, weighs nearly 12,000 pounds, and designed in the Waterford Crystal factory in Ireland.

The New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City’s Times Square normally attracts one million live spectators, but this year is going to look a little different in light of coronavirus restrictions. One thing that won’t change is that, like nearly every year in the last 100 years, the ball will still drop at the stroke of midnight.

“People all over the globe are ready to join New Yorkers in welcoming the new year with the iconic ball drop,” New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press release that announced details for this year’s virtual celebration. “A new year means a fresh start and we are excited to celebrate.”

The tradition has been a fixture of holiday celebrations since 1907, when the first New Year’s Eve Ball began its descent from at the top of 1 Times Square a minute before midnight.

The first ever Ball was made of iron and wood, and weighed 700 pounds. Today’s Ball, the fourth since the celebration’s conception unveiled in time for the new millennium, is made of 2,688 pieces of crystal and 32, 256 LED lights, weighs nearly 12,000 pounds, and is designed in the Waterford Crystal factory in Ireland before it makes its way across the Atlantic.

“Everybody celebrates New Year's in some form or other. The biggest new year celebration is that Times Square ball drop, and Waterford Crystal are just honored to be part of that,” the company’s spokesperson Tom Brennan told Inside Edition Digital. “These four or five days that build up to Times Square is, by far, my busiest time of the year, hands down.”

He explained this year has changed Waterford Crystal's own operations, too, but the one thing the company was determined to do was to put out an optimistic message for at-home revelers to enjoy.

“Normally, there's a million people in Times Square. They're all together. They're hugging and kissing. This year is unprecedented,” Brennan explained. “This year’s theme, this year’s design, is 'the gift of happiness.' Happiness and generosity and prosperity is what we all aim for to achieve in 2021 and beyond.”

He said their team comes up with a theme at the beginning of every year, and while the theme was picked before the coronavirus changed everyday life in the United States and beyond, “those enduring traditions are more important than ever,” Brennan said.

“Every year has its issues and its problems and its newsworthy headlines, but this year is one of the years where I think we've all had the opportunity to stand back and really focus,” he said. “The iconic Times Square ball … it stands as a proud tradition in trying times.”

The Times Square Alliance, which co-produces the annual New Year’s event in Times Square, agreed on its importance.

“One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on December 31st,” its president Tim Tompkins said. “More than ever in these divided and fear-filled times, the world desperately needs to come together symbolically and virtually to celebrate the people and things we love and look forward to with a sense of renewal and new beginnings.”

Even though visitors will not be able to attend the celebrations in person – New York City has since announced street closures in all the blocks surrounding Times Square – the virtual event promises a thrilling line up of events, with performers like Cyndi Lauper, Billy Porter, Anitta and Pitbull slated to take the stage at various times throughout the night.

The celebration will begin broadcast at 6:00 p.m. EST on Dec. 31 and go on until after midnight. To watch, click here or watch below: