Every year, billions of people across the globe (myself included) flip on their TVs to count down to the new year and watch as the Ball slips down its pole. It's been a tradition that's happened on the roof of One Times Square since 1907. Each year, the ball changes ever so slightly — so little that most people wouldn't even notice a difference. I braved torrential rains into the heart of New York City to see what those alterations would be for the 2012 New Year's Eve Ball, which is decked out with 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles and carries the theme of Let There Be Friendship this year. From down on the streets, the New Year's Eve Ball that now sits permanently above Times Square all year round looks the size of a basketball. You don't realize what a looming structure it is until you get right down under it. It's like the Death Star, only friendlier and without all the planet-vaporizing lasers.