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Get a bird's-eye view of the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square

Anthony Quintano / NBC News

Over 32,000 LED lights will illuminate the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square this year.

An estimated one million revelers will pack into Times Square tonight to ring in 2013 while the dazzling New Year’s Eve ball makes its annual descent. But Anthony Quintano, a senior community manager for NBC News (and our resident shutterbug), had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the 11,875-pound sphere before the midnight madness begins. And what a view it is from the top of One Times Square, the ball's starting point since 1907.

Anthony Quintano / NBC News

While the 2013 ball is made up of thousands of lights, the original sphere was covered with only 100 light bulbs.

“We were about 30 stories high, on a day with 40 mph wind gusts. Every once in while you can feel the sign we were behind sway a little,” Quintano told TODAY.com. “Even though we were safely secured in a harness, it's still very nerve-racking. It was all very much worth it to capture this landmark in a different angle than people are used to seeing it.”

Anthony Quintano / NBC News

A view of Times Square from the top of the ball's home at One Times Square.

This year, the New Year’s Eve ball will display a kaleidoscope of color from the 16 million shades and billions of patterns it’s capable of creating. 

Anthony Quintano / NBC News

Millions of people from around the world will tune in to watch the ball drop in New York City.

The original ball was made of iron and wood (and weighed in at a measly 700 pounds). The 2013 version is covered with 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles that feature designs illustrating good wishes for the New Year, like “Let There Be Peace,” “Let There Be Friendship” and “Let There Be Love.”

Anthony Quintano / NBC News

The New Year's Eve ball crew makes preparations for the landmark's biggest night of the year.

While the ball has gone through many major changes — seven, in fact — during the 105 years it’s helped us count down to the coming year, one thing remains unchanged: New Year’s just wouldn't be the same without it.

Times Square Alliance

Since 2008, a permanent ball has rested atop One Time Square throughout the year

TODAY

NBC's Ron Mott reports from Times Square in New York where preparations are under way to welcome 2013 as more than one million people are expected to clog the area to watch the famed ball-drop.