This Saturday, December 31, hundreds of thousands of spectators will flock to New York's Times Square, despite freezing temperatures, to watch the ball drop and celebrate the arrival of 2017. And, according to the Times Square Alliance
, nearly one billion more will be tuning in across the world. But how did one NYC celebration come to be the definitive global symbol of the New Year?
The annual event reaches back more than 100 years, to 1904, when The New York Times
threw a New Year's party to mark the official opening of their new headquarters in what was then known as Longacre Square. Two years later, the ball-drop was introduced — drawing from a maritime practice of lowering a ball at noon for people to set their watches to — along with a newer technology: electricity. Decades later, the advent of television brought the annual festivities into the homes of people worldwide.
Today, it's not really New Year's until the ball drops in Times Square — no matter what time zone you happen to be in. And looking back at New Years Eves past, we can see that while the fashions and signs have shifted, one thing remains steadfast: an excitement for the New Year and new things to come.
Click through to see 25 stunning images of New Year's Eve in Times Square, spanning nearly a century.