Every year, shortly before midnight, confetti begins raining down upon the partiers brave (or foolish) enough to converge upon Times Square for New Year’s Eve. That simple, striking visual requires an entire year of preparation.
At the New York Times, Spenser Mestel spoke to longtime “Confetti Crew” manager Treb Heining and reported it out, complete with a timeline. For instance, if you want to volunteer to help with the dispersal, you can apply starting in January. Be warned that they aren’t taking just any old clown, though: “there’s got to be some dedication because we’re not messing around up there.”
Things really get going in the days before the big show, however. On December 29, like an ensemble in a heist movie, they began putting everything into place:
The Confetti Crew, after gathering for breakfast, unloads two truckloads of confetti in Times Square, about 3,000 pounds total. Then, through the bustling streets, they deliver the unmarked, 45-pound boxes to the participating buildings. “The crowd has no idea who we are or what we’re doing,” said Mr. Heining.
There’s no machine at work, here—just good, old-fashioned muscle power. “Dispersal engineers,” as they call them, are taught a specific technique that is “very violent” and leaves their arms sore at the end of the night.
The best part, though, is the image of what the confetti hath wrought:
The confetti drop started in 1992, when it was intended to lighten up the tone of the event. “Up until that point, it had just been a drunken brawl,” said Treb Heining, who managed the confetti that first year and has been doing it ever since. “It was so seedy.”
The confetti was an instant success. “We literally saw it transform the whole Times Square area before our eyes,” Mr. Heining said, “which is what they wanted — to clean the place up.”
Who knew it was so simple?