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Con Edison’s McGrath Lights New Times Square Ball In Dazzling Display Of Lighting Technology

NEW YORK, December 1 -- Consolidated Edison, Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Eugene R. McGrath, Times Square Business Improvement District President Brendan Sexton and Countdown Entertainment President Jeffrey Straus today lighted for the first time ever the new Times Square Ball and the accompanying year "2000" numerals. The dazzling display of lighting technology was a test run in preparation for the greatest New Year’s Eve celebration in history -- Times Square 2000.

Joining in the event was actor Ron Silver, chair of NYC 2000, the city’s official millennium committee.

Con Edison, the official energy sponsor for Times Square 2000, is providing the lighting for The Ball, designed by Waterford Crystal, and for all elements of the 24-hour celebration. Today’s test was held at Hudson Scenic in the Bronx, where The Times Square Ball is being constructed.

The new Ball is translucent and will incorporate special effects, created by the lighting consulting firm of Fisher Marantz Stone, using 600 clear, red, blue, yellow and green lighting elements, 96 high-intensity strobe lights and 90 rotating pyramid mirrors. The geodesic-shaped Ball will be controlled by a computer, allowing the lamps to interplay into a full spectrum of bright colors from within the Ball that will be covered with 504 Waterford Crystal triangles, each featuring an original "Star of Hope" design.

Powered by Con Edison, the 696 interior and exterior lights will shine through the crystal triangles, sending millions of light refractions into the night sky. With the aid of the 90 computer-driven pyramid mirrors, The Ball will provide a state-of-the art light show of dazzling colorful patterns, producing a kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square. The light show will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people assembled in Times Square and over one billion television viewers around the world.

The "2000" numerals feature 637 spotlights and 306 glitter strobes.

"Con Edison is honored to continue the tradition of powering the Times Square Ball as we have since the first Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration in 1904," McGrath said. "We’re proud to usher in the Millennium with new cutting-edge lighting technology for the people of New York, and for the billions of people around the world who will witness this once-in-a-lifetime event."

"The Ball is beautiful. The lights and technology are amazing," said Sexton. "We are on our way to a beautiful and amazing Times Square 2000."

"For Times Square 2000, The Ball will sparkle and shine brighter than ever before, thanks to the energy and lighting technology of Con Edison and the craftsmanship of Waterford Crystal," Straus said.

"Since New York City does things bigger and better than anywhere else, it is only appropriate that the new Times Square New Year's Eve Ball be more spectacular than ever to ring in the millennium. As we approach the New Year, NYC 2000 is thrilled to be working with Times Square 2000 in true New York style to make this the greatest party of the century," Silver said.

McGrath will officially light The Times Square Ball on the morning of December 31, as part of a day-long celebration of the Year 2000.

At exactly 11:59 p.m. on December 31, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and a special guest to be named later will signal the world-famous Ball to begin its 77-foot descent on the flagpole atop One Times Square. At Midnight, The Ball reaches the bottom of the pole and the "2000" numerals light up, to mark the start of the Year 2000.

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