Many people who gathered in the cold on New Year's Eve, waiting to witness Hudson's first ever ball drop, were a little puzzled by the computer generated ball displayed on a video screen, which seemed to pulsate rather than descend. The flagpole was right there. Why not run a ball up the flagpole and lower it on the countdown to midnight? It seemed like a huge missed opportunity.
It turns out the organizers of the ball drop wanted to use the flagpole, but Rob Perry, superintendent of public works, vetoed the plan. Although a flagpole has stood on Promenade Hill for more than a century, this particular flagpole is fairly new, having been erected, if memory serves, in 2008. Perry told Gossips: "The installation of the pole was extremely difficult and exceeded the capabilities of our equipment. Damage to the pole or mechanical working would be costly to repair and would no doubt result in the absence of the flag for quite some time." Perry went on to explain that the cables on the flagpole were internal and there was "no way of knowing what type of weight rating it would be able to withstand." When asked if flag etiquette prohibited the flagpole from being used for any purpose other than displaying the American flag, Perry responded: "I'm not aware of any specific regulations for the pole itself. However, I am sure many people would find the use [of] a flagpole as a prop to be distasteful, at the very least."
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