Timekeeper has a practice round for descent of New Year's ball

December 31, 1991|By New York Times

NEW YORK -- When the New Year's ball descends in Times Square tonight, it will be for the second time this week. The first was a practice ceremony yesterday supervised by Tama Starr, the timekeeper for the event.

Starr, president of Artkraft Strauss Sign Corp., is following in the footsteps of her grandfather Jacob Starr, who built the first New Year's ball in 1908. She will repeat the performance tonight.

The ball is operated by a line and pulleys, and Starr is assisted by a crew including two electricians, two sign hangers and a sheet-metal worker. The ball begins its 77-foot descent at 11:59 p.m.

Starr said her main concern is getting the ball to the bottom of the pole in 60 seconds. "All the thinking and feeling comes before and after," she said.

But she does find it amazing that people all over the world, even those in different time zones, stop to watch a giant white globe reach the bottom of a pole in New York.

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