New York City, New York - During today’s press conference held by Times Square Alliance, the organization behind the New Year’s Eve ball drop, news came out that this year’s ball drop will be canceled until further notice, following warnings issued by the NYPD.
The warnings are a result of failed negotiations between the Police Department and New York City’s Black Lives Matter chapter. “Citizens and tourists are encouraged to stay away from Times Square the night of December 31st as the NYPD set up the area to allow for a peaceful protest,” says Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance.
A “Travel Warning” for the area has been issued by the NYPD, effective New Year's Eve.
The American Tribune spoke with law enforcement officer Theodore Jenkins following the press event. “It’s a real shame New York citizens won’t be able to come out this year and take to the street to celebrate… a beloved American Tradition.” Officer Jenkins noted that he will be working the area with riot police the night of the Ball Drop. “It’s the growing racial divide in America that’s to blame for the cancellation of this event, I’m afraid.” When asked whether there could be an alternate location for the celebration, Jenkins informed the American Tribune that there is no other location within a 10 mile radius that could support that many people without causing mass chaos.
The New Year’s Eve Ball Drop dates back over 100 years ago, started by Adolph Ochs in 1909. During last year's Ball Drop, over a billion people watching across the world with one million attending the festivities in New York City.
Being two days away from New Year’s Eve, the ball has already been set up atop the One Times Square building in New York. During today’s press event, Tim Tompkins stated that the conditions of the protest are unknown, but “-we will be taking precautions to prepare for the worst case scenario.” Because the conditions on the ground may be dangerous for photographers and camera crews, the Times Square Alliance decided to cancel the physical ball drop and instead replace the televised event with a CGI movie of the ball dropping.
A member of the audience questioned if the ball could be relocated to another city, but Tompkins disclosed that this is too short of a notice to find a new location for the physical ball and physically transport it.
The CGI film will be produced by Weta Digital and Industrial Light and Magic, two studios that contributed to the life-like CGI movie Avatar (2009). Footage from last years ball drop will be used as the template for the film.
The American Tribune reached out for comment from Elijah Walker, a public relations officer of the BLM-NYC chapter but received no answer. BLM members, however, took to Twitter to voice themselves -
“The #NYPD wanna negotiate with us and stop us from voicing our frustrations with the system? No thank you. WE’RE MAKING OURSELVES HEARD #BLM” writes one Black Lives Matter member.
“You betta not be surprised that the #balldrop is #CANCELLED !! And don’t worry either , this isn’t the last time we’ll cancel white americas events to make ourselves heard!” writes another.