WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- City officials inspected and tested the New Year's Eve ball on Tuesday in anticipation of dropping it at Main and Court streets at midnight Wednesday.
White Plains Mayor Tom Roach joined Department of Public Works Commissioner Joseph "Bud" Nicoletti and Recreation & Parks Commissioner Wayne Bass at the DPW garage on Brockway Place where a dozen new strobe lights have been added to the 13-year-old ball.
"This is a great event. It's a family friendly event,'' Roach said, explaining that a crane will lower the ball from about 150 feet at the corner of Main and Court streets.
"You're almost at Times Square,'' Bass said. "This is our Times Square."
The 8-foot-wide ball has a total of 10,000 white LED lights. It takes about two minutes to lower the ball by crane to the stage on New Year's Eve.
Another new addition this year, according to Roach: About 50 pounds of confetti will be shot from the ball as it is lowered at 11:58 p.m.
Fran Croughan, deputy parks commissioner, called the New Year's Eve celebration the city's largest public event. It is expected to attract more than 20,000 people due to the mild, dry forecast of clear skies and 28 degree temperatures.
"I think we're going to see record crowds this year,'' Croughan said. "It's my favorite event of the year."
Independence Day marks the city's next most popular downtown event, followed by the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Downtown streets will be cordoned off beginning at 2:30 p.m. and will reopen by 3 a.m. on Thursday Jan. 1. The city has a map of street closures online here at www.cityofwhiteplains.com :
There will be live, local entertainment from AM Gold and a DJ named Don't Stop the Music beginning at 10 p.m. and fireworks at midnight.
Heineken USA, one of the event's sponsors, is once again making free rides available anywhere in Westchester to people over 21 from 11 p.m. Wednesday to 3 a.m. on Thursday. Rides start at the corner of East Post Road and Mamaroneck Avenue.
The first White Plains drop was 13 years ago, and featured a 4-foot-wide ball with red, white and blue lights.
Roach said plans already are under way for next year, since that marks the city's 100th anniversary.
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