Pat Shingleton: "The First Ball Drop and New Years Food-Stuff"
On this date in 1907, The New York Times moved its offices to a building on a square that now bears its name. To commemorate the paper’s new home, publisher Alfred Ochs provided a lavish New Year’s Eve celebration intended to attract parishioners from Trinity Church in lower Manhattan. The church was traditionally the gathering place on New Year’s Eve, however 200,000 people celebrated New Year’s Eve for the first time, 109 years ago, in the newly-named Times Square. That same year, Ochs added more excitement to the celebration when a 700-pound, 5-foot-diameter ball, made of iron and wood and covered it with electrical lights. Weather for the first event was 52 degrees with light rain. In 1917 it was -13 degrees with snow and tonight, revelers will enjoy clear skies and "ball-drop" temperature of 42 degrees. For New Year's Day you may participate in "food-stuff" traditions to ensure health and prosperity in 2017. This may include the consumption of pork, knackwurst, bratwurst, kielbasa, sauerkraut, applesauce or black eyed peas. To avoid getting hit by lightning this year burn the Yule log. Traditional beliefs found that lightning would never hit a house with a smoldering block of oak. Roman generals wore laurel wreaths and sealskin coats during episodes of thunder. French peasants would carry "pierres de tonnerre" or thunderstones in their pockets to ward off lightning. And finally you may want to ring a bell. Church bells in medieval Europe have the inscription: "Fulgura Frango" meaning "I break up lightning strokes." Happy New Year from YOUR Weather Team.