Teresa Hui has been attending the arrival of the New Year’s numerals since 2016.
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
With only 11 more days until New York City ushers in 2024, Times Square New Year’s Eve preparations are well underway, gearing up for the biggest night of the year.
On Wednesday, Times Square and KIA America representatives and the public welcomed the arrival of the iconic, seven-foot-tall “2024” numerals on Broadway Plaza between 46th and 47th Streets, starting the countdown to the world’s most famous New Year’s Eve celebration from the “Crossroads of the World.”
After a cross-country journey that began at Kia Forum in Los Angeles, with pit stops at holiday events in Tucson, AZ, and Philadelphia, the public can pose for photo ops at ground level of the numerals, which feature a total of 588 energy-efficient LED bulbs and weigh over 1,000 pounds, until 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 22.
Not long after, the numbers will be hoisted to the roof of One Times Square, where they will be placed below the pole upon which the ball will take that minute-long drop from 11:59 p.m. Dec. 31, 2023 into midnight Jan. 1, 2024.
James Bell, director of Corporate Communications of Kia America, said the numerals, which were towed by the 2024 Kia EV9, were an opportunity for the public to “see and touch the future.”
“You’re seeing the future twice. Here with the numerals for 2024 and with the future of electrification, which KIA is deeply involved in,” Bell said. “This year, we were able to use on our cross-country tour to bring the numerals here with an all-electric vehicle, which is the first time that’s been done.”
Jeffrey Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment and the co-organizer of Times Square New Year’s Eve, pointed out that, like the odometer, “we keep getting older.”
“We are 11 days away from the big celebration, and thanks to KIA and the EV9, the new year is here in Times Square,” Strauss declared.
For 119 years, new year numerals have been displayed above One Times Square to help millions of people greet the incoming 365 days. Brooklynite Teresa Hui attended the arrival of the numerals for the first time in 2016 and has been “hooked” ever since.
Decked out in 2024 accessories, Hui said she awaits the arrival of the numerals every year. It allowed Hui, born and raised in New York, to be part of the New Year celebration without standing among the New Year’s Eve crowd waiting for the ball to drop.
“I don’t need to wait for like 16 hours on New Year’s Eve, being barricaded off and wearing adult diapers. For those people who do it, ‘Kudos to you. You’re braver than I am,’” Hui said. “But this makes me feel like I’m part of the New Year’s celebrations without actually having to be there and having use of a bathroom, which is nice.”
The Sullivan family from Washington D.C. was on vacation and saw the arrival of the numerals from their hotel room window.
The family was excited to see the numerals in person.
“I’ve only seen the numerals on TV, so it’s pretty cool to see it in person,” Carson Sullivan said.