Photos by by Ian Hardy
The Big Apple is going green for New Year's. When the ball drops in Times Square on December 31st, everyone will be looking at a shiny new model that's twice as bright and consumes half the power. The upgrade is thanks to replacing the old ball's 600 bulbs with 9,576 LEDs. The new LEDs aren't just energy-efficient — they're also capable of rendering 16 million colors and can display video, too. That's a far cry from the previous model's limited palette of red, green, white and blue.
A system of mirrors and Waterford crystal give the LEDs a boost, letting the new ball shine as bright as 625,033 lumens while using only about the same amount of power as 10 toaster ovens. Paul Gregory and Christine Hope of New York City's Focus Lighting designed the ornate ball for Times Square's 100th anniversary (the first ball dropped in 1907) and have been working on it since last October. The company estimates the value of the ball at approximately $1.1 million. But you might be able to get a deal on it if you wait 'til January 1st.