5. There Were No Ball Drops in 1942 or 1943

New Year's Eve ball dropThe New Year’s Eve Ball photographed as it is raised at 1 Times Square in New York City on December 31st, 2012, Courtesy of Countdown Entertainment

The only years the ball hasn’t dropped since 1907 were 1942 and 1943. During these years, the New Year’s Eve ceremony was suspended as part of the wartime “dimout” of New York City lights. These dimouts were done to protect the city from Axis bombings. According to the New York Times, though there weren’t any continuous nightly dimouts in New York City, there would sometimes be blackout drills. In 1942 the Army said that New York City’s glow silhouetted offshore ships, making them easy targets. Thus, the advertising signs in Times Square had to go dark. The original Penn Station’s skylight windows were also painted black to block light from emitting from the building.

Despite the dimout, huge crowds still gathered in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Instead of the usual flashy and raucous partying, the new year was welcomed instead with a minute of silence followed by the sounds of chimes from sound trucks parked at the base of One Times Square.