New York Sparks at New Year as Ever

The New Year's Eve crystal ball that drops in Times Square will have a new kind of sparkle when it descends at the stroke of midnight Thursday, and revelers will be able to toast 2010 without popping a cork.

Organizers of the celebration unveiled a new design Sunday for nearly 300 Waterford crystal triangles to be installed on the giant ball. The crystals feature an interlocking ribbon pattern, woven into a Celtic knot, to illustrate the theme for 2010, "Let There Be Courage."

They also demonstrated a new "Clink-Clink" iPhone application for virtual toasts, which Waterford helped design. It enables two people make a toast with images of Waterford champagne flutes and cocktail glasses displayed on their phones' tiny screens.

"It is a way for people to share a virtual toast all around the world," said Regan Iglesia, Waterford's senior brand director.

Iglesia joined the producers of the New Year's Eve celebration, Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins and Countdown Entertainment President Jeffrey Straus, at a news conference at the ball's home at 1 Times Square.

Some 288 of the ball's 2,668 Waterford crystal triangles will be replaced this year with new ones featuring the Celtic knot design. Straus said it evokes the yellow ribbons that welcome home soldiers or red ribbons for AIDS awareness.

The triangles are custom-built to withstand high winds, snow, rain and temperature fluctuations in their spot 400 feet above Times Square.

The ball drop tradition dates to 1907.

Los Angeles Times has contributed to the report.

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