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See the Times Square Ball Up Close Before New Year's Eve

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Over the weekend, about 25 stories above the Deuce on the roof of One Times Square, a team of electricians installed the final 288 Waterford Crystal triangles onto the surface of the enormous ball that will be used during the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration. Despite it being a staged event swarming with press, the opportunity to see the iconic ball up close was very, very cool.

For the coming countdown to 2016, Waterford unveiled a new design, "Gift of Wonder", joining the two other recent entrants, Gift of Imagination and Gift of Fortitude. The plan is to add another design each year for the next decade or so, all of which will be the "Gift of [Something]."

Each crystal triangle on the Ball is about 3/8" thick, weighs around seven ounces, and feels really expensive in your hand. It takes 2,688 crystals in all to cover the Ball, which is really a geodesic sphere with a diameter of 12 feet and weighing a surprisingly precise 11,875 pounds.

More numbers: all of those crystals are attached to 672 LED modules, which together hold 32,256 individual LEDs, giving the Ball a palette of more than 16 million colors…many of which weren't really working during the test run yesterday evening, but everyone still managed to have a good time and take thousands of selfies.

The Times Square Ball has been part of the city's—and the world's—New Year's Eve celebration since 1907, when it was made of iron and wood and covered with 100 light bulbs. The one that will drop on Thursday to help ring in 2016 is the seventh iteration of the Ball, and it's called the Big Ball. It's estimated that one million people will be on hand to see it live, with more than a billion watching around the world.—Scott Lynch