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.


More in:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by