Blogs » Business Notebook » Some New Year's trivia. It'll make you that much smarter in '09.

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I really couldn't tell you what it is that I find so mesmerizing about that sparkling, lighted ball dropping in Times Square to signify the start of the new year. I mean, really. If you think about it, it's just a pretty light display.

But for whatever reason, that's where you'll find my TV stopped every year. I did some digging online today and found a few "did you know" type facts about the event. For instance, according to the Times Square Alliance Web site ...

*The First Times Square New Year's celebration was in 1904, the year the city got its first subway.

*The glowing, colorful ball is a 12 -foot sphere, weighs 11,875 pounds and is covered in 2,668 Waterford crystals.

*The ball they use now isn't the original. They've gone through a few of them in the hundred plus years since the tradition's inception and this one was introduced on Nov. 11.

*In 1942 and 1943 they retired the ball because of a New York City wartime "dimout." Crowds still came but, instead of a countdown, welcomed the new year with a minute of silence, followed by chimes from nearby sound trucks. 

Have any of you ever braved the crowds at Times Square? I'd love to make it out there sometime but I'm not a fan of big crowds. Wal-Mart shopping on Black Friday scares me enough (and with the death that came this year I see it has reason to.) I'm not sure how I'd hold up. But it seems like a celebration that would be well worth it.