I think it all started when they decided to do a three hour long New Year’s Rockin’ Eve that featured the traditional ball dropping in New York City and then, three hours later, a ball dropping on the strip in Las Vegas from one of the hotels. Both cities were lined with hundreds of thousands of people and ever since that double ball drop things have never been the same and it has taken a turn for the worse. People still get to Times Square and they say that New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square are getting even more popular but to go along with that you have a ball of light dropping in nearly every city in the world. It started to become noticeable to me when the largest city I live near, which is about 30 miles south of me, started having their own ball drop on New Year's Eve celebrations maybe 10 or 15 years ago. The first time they did it there were riots and people were getting beat up in the subways by roving gangs of thugs but they kept on doing it and now it is fairly widely attended. About 4 or 5 years ago my little hometown decided to have a ball drop and that is when I knew the real New Year’s Eve celebrations were over. I went to one of these ball drops and what they had was a 30 foot crane extended in the parking lot in front of city hall with a huge ball of light hanging on a rope. With about 15 seconds to go before midnight someone would start to lower the ball very slowly. At midnight, or usually 3 or 4 seconds after midnight, the ball fell its necessary 10 feet and that was it. There were 50 people in the parking lot to watch and the entertainment was a very bad classic rock cover band. It was one of the most pathetic things I have ever seen.
Maybe it is that sense of wanting to go to exciting places rather than ruining those places by trying to bring them to you that attracts me to the 1950’s and 1960’s. Back then people went to watch the ball drop, or they went dancing at a nice hotel, but they never once thought about dropping a ball of light where they live. What would be the point of that? I really miss the times when people went to see wonderful things instead of trying to strangle them in their own backyard.