Following the rules imposed to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, which in the United States has already cost the lives of more than 200,000 people and has specially struck NYC.
More than a million people congregate every year from very early in the well-known square, with millions following the celebration from a distance, to say goodbye to the year and receive the new one with the traditional countdown and descent from the top of a building of the sphere of more than 1200 crystals and five tons of weight that has become a symbol of the celebration for decades.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the rules of that massive celebration but will not prevent it, said the Times Square Alliance, which organizes the event, on Wednesday.
"One thing that will never change is the passage of time and the arrival of a new year at midnight on December 31," said Tim Tompkins, president of this entity. He explained that this year there will be significantly new and improved virtual, visual and digital offerings to complement any limited entertainment or live experience, still in development, taking place in Times Square.
"In these times of division and fear, the world desperately needs to come together symbolically and virtually to celebrate the people and things we love, and to look forward with a sense of renewal and a new beginning," he said in a statement.
This famous and long-awaited celebration began at the beginning of the last century, in 1904, at a time when Times Square was already part of the heart of New York.
Three years later, in 1907, the first appearance of a giant sphere took place, weighing more than 320 kilos, adorned with iron and wood and illuminated by about one hundred 25-watt bulbs.
Since then there have been up to seven different balls, although it was in the year 2000 when the most significant change in the design of the structure took place.
The only two times the giant sphere descent ceremony has been suspended were 1942 and 1943, due to power outages during World War II in New York City.
The Times Square Alliance, which runs the event, said only a very limited group of socially distanced people will be allowed into the square for broadcast purposes.
'There will be some socially distanced activities in Times Square but it's going to be primarily for a broadcast and streaming audience,' said Tompkins.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement: 'People all over the globe are ready to join New Yorkers in welcoming in the new year with the iconic Ball Drop.
'I commend the Times Square Alliance, Jamestown, and Countdown Entertainment on finding a safe, creative and innovative way for all of us to continue to celebrate this century-old tradition.