What New Year’s Eve in Times Square Looked Like Through the Years
Few New Year’s Eve traditions are as iconic as watching the ball drop in Times Square. This American tradition began in 1907, but the look and feel of the event has changed over time. Take a peek into the past with these photos of New Year’s Eve through the decades.
New Year’s Eve 1936
Times Square in the 1930s may have been a little less commercialized than it is today, but a huge crowd still gathered to ring in 1937.
New Year’s Eve 1938
Rowdy crowds on New Year’s Eve are nothing new. Back in 1938, this shopkeeper boarded up his window to guard against the expected throng of revelers.
New Year’s Eve 1941
These party-goers are just a handful of the estimated half a million people in Times Square who helped ring in 1942. Today, the event typically draws over two million.
Hosting a party for a crowd this year? These recipes will feed 12 or more.
New Year’s Eve 1945
Revelers in 1945 had more than just a new year to celebrate—World War II ended just a few months prior. The glowing ball took a temporary hiatus in 1942 and 1943 due to a “dim-out” that helped protect the city. Here are the thrifty recipes Grandma made during WWII.
New Year’s Eve 1958
This view of Times Square was taken from the Hotel Astor—one of New York’s most famous vintage hotels. Today the space is occupied by an office tower.
New Year’s Eve 1966
A large group helped to welcome in the new year in the late 1960s. We hope they stayed warm with cozy drinks like these.
New Year’s Eve 1976
In this shot from the late 1970s, a smoke bomb helps to welcome in the New Year with a big crowd. Today, the city hands out party favors like hats and glasses to revelers.
New Year’s Eve 1981
In 1981 the famous New Year’s ball got a new look. This time, it resembled a “big apple” designed after the city’s nickname.
New Year’s Eve 1992
One aspect of the New Year’s Eve celebration they don’t show on TV? Cleanup. This shot shows crews cleaning up the morning after guests ushered in 1993.
New Year’s Eve 1995
Those funny glasses that spell out the upcoming new year? They’re nothing new. This excited duo arrived at Time Square in the early afternoon to snag a spot for welcoming in 1996.
New Year’s Eve 1996
If you’ve ever watched the ball drop on TV, you’re likely familiar with Dick Clark. This legendary host helped bring the holiday festivities in Times Square to living rooms across America. This photo from 1996 shows Clark in the midst of his broadcast.
New Year’s Eve 1999
To some revelers, ringing in 2000 felt a little scary as there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the new millennium. But this group of party-goers welcomed the new year with a lot of enthusiasm.
New Year’s Eve 2001
2001 was a year many Americans were eager to put in the past. A special tribute ball was dropped to honor the victims of 9/11.