The whole Times Square-ball drop thing didn’t start until 1904. Before then, the hip place to celebrate the holiday was at the base of Trinity Church, on Wall Street and Broadway.
Huge crowds would show—up to 15,000 people some years—looking to see and be seen as well as to hear the tolling of the bells to welcome the New Year.
The second Trinity Church, 1788-1841. The original burned down in the Great Fire of 1776, and the third one still remains there today.
“The crowds came from every section of the city, and among the thousands, who cheered or tooted tin horns, as the chimes were rung out on the night, were many from New Jersey, Long Island, and even Staten Island.”