New Year’s Eve Ball Drop In Times Square Will Be Powered By Stationary Bikes

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York City will be powered by human energy.

The Times Square Alliance announced Friday that energy will be obtained from six stationary Citi Bike bicycles set up in Midtown.

Citi Bike is a bike-sharing system launched in May that allows pedestrians to rent bikes from over 300 stations throughout the city.

The New Year’s stationary bikes will store energy in a battery that will be transported to the NYC power grid, offsetting the energy that will be needed to light the 11,875-pound geodesic sphere.

"On New Year's Eve, we're going to tap into the energy that's ridden Citi Bikes the equivalent of 450 trips around the globe," Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement. "With the year's biggest party being powered by Citi Bike pedals, the world is in for an even more electrifying experience when the ball drops."

The process is part of a measure to make the annual ball drop more energy efficient. In 2008, officials traded the halogen quills in the ball for light-emitting diodes that used 87 percent fewer watts per bulb, the New York Times reported.

The lights illuminate the 2,688 Waterford crystals that surround the sphere.

The tradition of gathing in Times Square on New Year's Eve began in 1904, but the ball wasn’t added until 1907.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, is also hosting a energy efficient New Years’ eve ball drop this year. By using LED bulbs, their event will used about 80 percent less energy than they did when the ball was lit with halogen bulbs.

Sources: ThinkProgress, New York Times