Streams

Whistle to Ring in the New Year

Thursday, December 31, 2009

While the eyes of most of the nation will be on the ball at Times Square at midnight, in Brooklyn, some ears will be waiting for the toot of a steam whistle to signify the start of 2010.

Conrad Milster could be found this morning warming up one of a dozen steam whistles at the Pratt Institute, where Milster's the chief engineer of the power plant. Blowing the whistles before, at, and after midnight has become a Brooklyn tradition. Hundreds of people come out to participate. Milster hands them a long cord to pull, so they don't need to get too close to the noise.

Milster says we should be able to hear the whistle for 2-3 miles away. Here he explains just how it works:

Milster has been engineering Pratt's heat, steam, and electricity since the 1950s. He began whistling for the New Year in the 1960s.

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