1. The first Times Square New Year's Eve celebration was in 1904, in honor of the new headquarters for The New York Times.
2. The Times Square Ball dropped for the first time in 1907, when fireworks alone just weren't cutting it anymore.
3. Counting the first ball in 1907 and our present one, there have been six different iterations of the Times Square Ball.
In 1920, the original ball retired and made way for the new, lighter design: 400 pounds, made entirely of iron, and maintaining that 5-foot diameter.
In 1955, it got even slimmer: 150 pounds of aluminum, controlled by just one push of a button.
For the millennium celebration, the Times Square team brought in Waterford Crystal to help design the fourth ball — then technically a "geodesic sphere."
The ball went green in 2008, marking the Times Square Ball Centennial with a fifth design: 6-foot diameter; 1,212 pounds; lit by 9,567 energy-efficient LED lamps with computerized color patterns; and made up of the same Waterford crystal panels.
The ball we see today is the sixth, made in 2009, and absolutely massive.
4. From 1981 to 1988, the ball was decorated to look like an apple.
5. There have only been two years in which the ball didn't drop: 1942 and 1943, during the wartime "dimout" of New York City.
6. One Times Square is essentially a hollow, 25-story billboard.
7. The coldest ball drop was in 1917, with a midnight temperature reaching down to 1 °F and wind chill of -18 °F.
8. About one million people stand outside and celebrate. Over a billion watch the broadcast from around the world.
9. One ton (2,200 pounds) of confetti is dropped on the crowd at midnight.
10. You can celebrate at Times Square without being all cold and claustrophobic outside, but it'll cost you. A lot.
11. The Times Square Ball has inspired many varied drops around the country, from the peach drop in Atlanta, to the Hershey Kiss drop in Hershey, to the Snooki drop in Seaside Heights.
12. When it's all over, we're left with almost 50 tons of trash, which takes about two days to clean.
Correction: An earlier version of this post gave the wrong first name for the owner of The New York Times. (H/T John H. for pointing it out!)