U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore A. Giunta, the first living person to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, is this year's guest of honor at the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop.
Giunta, who received the America's highest military honor for his efforts in the war in Afghanistan, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg will press the ceremonial button to signal the release of the famous crystal ball from atop the One Times Square Building.
Here is a video of President Barack Obama describing Giunta's heroic efforts and presenting him with the Medal of Honor:
To get you ready for the big night in Times Square, Surge Desk offers five aspects about New York City's famous ball drop.
1. Snooki is not invited
Despite a rumored appearance, Times Square authorities recently rejected a request from MTV to feature Snooki, the Jersey shore's most infamous interloper, inside a second New Year's Eve ball in Times Square. Instead, Snooki's New Year's spectacle will go down in Jersey.
2. All about the ball
Here are a few specifics on the famous ball:
- The first ball drop took place in 1907.
- The ball, at 12 feet in diameter and weighing 11,875 pounds, stands atop the One Times Square building in the heart of Manhattan.
- The ball descends 77 feet over the course of one minute.
- The 2011 ball features 288 new "Let There Be Love" crystal triangles designed by Waterford Crystal.
- In total, the ball features 2,688 crystal triangles.
- The ball is illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED lights.
3. It won't be this cold
The coldest recorded Times Square temperature on New Year's Eve dates back to 1917 when celebrators braved 1 degree Farenheit conditions. New Year's Eve 1948 offered the snowiest conditions with 4 inches of powder. Temperatures are expected to be around 30 degrees with a 10 percent chance of precipitation for this year's ball drop.
4. Yes, there's an app for that
2010 going on 2011 will feature the first-ever Times Square Ball App offering a customizable clock, a commercial free live stream of the festivities, a photo contest, weather reports, and "New Year's Eve 'kisses' and photos to share with family and friends."
5. The ball will shine greener than ever
The New York Daily News reports that in all its glitz and glory, the lights on this year's Times Square ball only require "about as much energy as two household stoves."
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