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Auld Lang Syne For Ball

The Times Square New Year's Eve ball will be retired after it ushers in the new year one last time Thursday night.

A new ball made of Irish crystal will be in place for next December's drop during the city's millennial celebration.

The current ball, made of aluminum and weighing more than 500 pounds, is six feet in diameter and is illuminated by a 10,000-watt Xenon lamp, 180 75-watt halogen lamps, 144 glitter strobe lights, and 12,000 rhinestones.

"It has served us as a wonderful symbol of celebration, and we will give it a great farewell at its final performance," Brendan Sexton, president of the Times Square Business Improvement District, said Monday.

The new ball, to be created by Waterford Crystal at its headquarters in Ireland, is still in the planning stages.

This year's New Year's Eve celebration is expected to attract 500,000 people to Times Square and will feature three giant video screens and a pyrotechnic display. And, of course, the ball's minute-long descent.