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Times Square Vendors Concerned They'll Take Big Hit On 2021 Merchandise; App Available To Watch Celebration Virtually

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Workers installed 192 glittering Waterford crystal triangles on Times Square's New Year's Eve ball Sunday in preparation for a celebration that will lack the usual tightly packed crowds of revelers.

The ball is a 12-foot geodesic sphere covered with 2,688 crystal triangles of various sizes. Some new crystals are swapped in every year. This year's addition features a new "Gift of Happiness" design represented by a sunburst of bright cuts radiating outward.

The ball blazing with 32,256 LED lights will be dropped at 11:59 p.m. on New Year's Eve to ring in 2021.

MORE: Crews Preparing New Year's Eve Performances In Times Square, Event Closed To Public

Performances at the event will be designed for TV audiences watching from home.

The new crystal triangles will boost the razzle dazzle on a New Year's Eve ball that very few people will get to see in person.

But on TV and online, people across the world will still get the glittering gift from the Big Apple, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported.

"Each year, we have a different theme. This year is happiness and we could all use a little bit of happiness in in 2021," said Tom Harris, senior vice president of the Times Square Alliance.

"It is represented by a sunburst that radiates outward, bringing warmth and smiles to everyone it touches," added Jeffrey Strauss, president of Countdown Entertainment.


As Carlin reported, 2021 merchandise can be purchased in Times Square. Those who buy some, however, just won't be bringing it back on New Year's Eve.

But the problem is the merchandise is not moving.

"Right now, time is really difficult for us, especially the souvenir guys," said Nazir Usman, owner of Gifts and Luggage. "There's no tourists. Not a lot of people this year. So, we're not selling a lot of stuff."

"It's going to be a business loss. It's going to hurt. It's going to hurt," Joseph Zaragoza said.

It's also hard on restaurants and bars.

While Viktor Zhai is losing money, he told CBS2's Cory James he understands why.

"I'd rather suffer in the short run for everybody's health, then we can prepare for the long run," Zhai said.

Due to COVID-19, New Year's Eve must go small and people seem to get that.

"If people don't stay in, COVID is never gonna go anywhere, so watch from the house," Megan Taylor said.

"It's definitely different this year, but I get it for keeping people safe," said Demetrius Apostolis of Flemington, New Jersey

"I still look forward to watching the ball drop on TV," Collin Merz added.

Gone will be the packed crowds of years' past. Instead, the ball drop confetti and musical numbers will be choreographed for those watching from home, although there will be a selection of VIP guests.

"Our heroes of 2020 -- first responders, frontline workers, essential workers and their families who sacrificed so much to keep us safe and protected in our homes this year," Strauss said.

"Me and my family have a great time together, so it'll be just us and we have our own party. That's all we need," Taylor added.

So, have a blast in your household bubble, as we distance ourselves from 2020.

Want To Watch The Ball Drop Virtually? There's An App For That

James got a look at a new app created by the investment company Jamestown, which will give people the opportunity to participate in the decade's-long celebration from their homes around the world.

Users can pick from nine of the cameras or can engage in a virtual Times Square, the creators said.

Brendan Nussenblatt has already downloaded the free app. He said it has interactive features, creating some normalcy on one of the biggest nights of the year.

"There's a dance party. You can also have different outfits and you can look at different artwork," Nussenblatt said. "I think it's a good way you can sit with your family. Hopefully next year we can all come together."

If you're interested in watching the ball drop from Times Square virtually while at home, please click here to download the app.

CBS2's Dave Carlin and Cory James contributed to this report

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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