2019 is almost upon us, in just four days. A classic image of a New Year’s Eve celebration is massive fireworks in front of which people share embraces and a glass of bubbly with their loved ones, but people everywhere have other interesting traditions. In Siberia for example, some people dive into a freezing lake to plant a New Year tree at the bottom of the lake. In Chile, some locals add extra spirit to New Year’s Eve by celebrating the holiday in a cemetery, surrounded by all of their deceased loved ones. The Spanish ring it in with a mouth full of grapes for great luck in the coming year.
No need to emulate any of these traditions, but just about everyone across the globe shares one wish — of wanting to start the New Year off on the right note. Join POSCO Newsroom’s countdown to 2019, making stops at steel monuments across various corners of the world.
The countdown with POSCO begins.
┃10! Sydney, Australia
The first stop, Sydney. Sydney New Year’s Eve is an annual multi-faceted event attended by approximately 1.6 million people. When the clock strikes 12 at midnight, fireworks light the sky over around its architectural monuments: Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House.
The Sydney Harbor Bridge first opened in 1932, taking nine years to construct. Until recently the bridge was the longest single span steel arch bridge in the world and it is still in a general sense the largest. In its beautiful harbor location, the Sydney Harbor Bridge has become a renowned international symbol of Australia. The total steelwork weighs 52,800 tons, including 39,000 tons in the arch. The 49-meter-wide deck makes Sydney Harbor Bridge the widest long-span bridge in the world.
The Sydney Opera House is 183 meters long and 120 meters wide. Opened in 1973, its distinctive roof has been inspired by orange segments, snails palm fronds, and Mayan temples. The roof is made up by 2,194 prefabricated concrete pieces, some of them weighing up to 15 tons and the shells of the roof used an innovative adjustable steel-trussed “erection arch” to keep together and support all the different pieces.
┃9! Seoul, South Korea
To celebrate the New Year’s Eve Gangnam style, head to Seoul’s Lotte World Tower. Last year, 100,000 Seoulians braved the cold weather to enjoy the first-ever countdown since the Tower opened to the public in April 2017. The events at Lotte Tower were the first official fireworks from a skyscraper that year and was broadcasted globally over Facebook and CNN.
The Lotte World Tower is currently the tallest building in South Korea and the fifth tallest in the world. The 129-story building is made of a reinforced concrete core, concrete encased steel columns and steel floor spanning. POSCO was the supplier of the 40,000 tons of steel to build the tower. Its sleek contemporary design is loosely inspired by traditional Korean ceramics and features the world’s highest glass floor observatory, Seoul Sky, with a skywalk, art gallery, cafes, six-star hotel, and the mega Lotte World Mall complex.
Many people are expecting another amazing New Year’s celebration leading on from last year’s when fireworks ignited into many different colors, putting on a spectacular show for 555 seconds, which represents the height of the tower.
In addition to the countdown, hundreds and thousands of people gather at various locations to watch the first sunrise of the year: Gyeongpodae is one of the most beautiful sunrise spots in South Korea which attracts thousands of visitors every year.
┃8! Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Now traveling from Korea’s bone-chilling winter to Southeast Asia for a change of scenery: none other than Kuala Lumpur.
Well known for its vibrant nightlife scenes, KL is an ideal place to celebrate New Year’s Eve. KLCC Park (Kuala Lumpur City Center Park) especially attracts lots of diverse group of people. For the most of the year, the park is tranquil, but it transforms into a massive New Year’s Eve concert venue with live music performances by local and international acts, ending with a great round of fireworks. Albeit much smaller in scale, the celebrations in KLCC Park are similar to those at Times Square with massive crowds jamming Petronas Twin Towers which once held top spots as the tallest building in the world.
The Petronas Twin Towers are twin skyscrapers in KL. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, they were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004, and they are still the tallest twin towers in the world. The 88-floor towers feature multi-faceted walls of 33,000 stainless steel and 55,000 glass panels. The steel and glass facade were designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art, reflecting Malaysia’s Muslim religion. The towers’ Vision Glass, specialized panels with light filtering and noise reduction properties is covered by stainless steel visors to protect visitors from the tropical sun.
┃7! Istanbul, Turkey
Turkey has always been a bridge between east and west and the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul is just that: it is one the three bridges —and the first constructed— that connects Turkey’s European side to Turkey’s Asian side thus connecting the two continents.
Bosporus Bridge is a gravity-anchored suspension bridge with steel towers and inclined hangers. The aerodynamic deck hangs on zigzag steel cables. It is 1,560 meters long with a deck width of 33.40 meters. When the bridge was completed in 1973, it had the fourth-longest suspension bridge span in the world, remaining the longest suspension bridge in Europe until 1981, and the longest suspension bridge in Asia until the completion of the Second Bosporus Bridge in 1988. The Bosporus Bridge currently has the 25th-longest suspension bridge span in the world.
On New Year’s Eve, massive fireworks are on display at the Bosporus Strait where thousands of visitors from around the world will gather. Other places to celebrate the special night in Istanbul are Taksim Square and Istiklal Street in the City center — the main gathering places for those wanting to celebrate the New Year. Many people also prefer to spend the special night at private parties at home.
┃6! Cape Town, South Africa
Before heading the West, let’s head South first: to South Africa. Cape Town is one of a few cities in the world where people can celebrate the new year up on one of the city’s magnificent mountains like Table Mountain. Table Mountain Cable Way used to provide transportation to and from the mountain peak, but as of late, the last cable car down is at 9:30 pm. It no longer allows visitors up to the top to ring in the New Year. Nevertheless, visitors can easily drive to one of the higher vantage points on Table Mountain and watch the famed Victoria & Alfred Waterfront fireworks display from the car or picnic spot.
As for more distinctive steel monument considering the country’s history, there is a large bust sculpture of Nelson Mandela in Howick, about 88 kilometers from the port city of Durban. The sculpture is part of a fully operational Mandela Monument with a museum and the sculpture. The sculpture was created by Marco Cianfanelli and commemorates Nelson Mandel capture site. The sculpture comprises of 50 mild steel columns between 6 meters and 10 meters high and is placed onto a concrete base. From a standing position of 35 meters from the sculpture, the columns come into focus and the image of Nelson Mandela can be seen.
┃5! Berlin, Germany
Now transitioning to the West: on New Year’s Eve, the city of Berlin invites guests and Berliners alike to celebrate the beginning of a new year with a huge open-air party. The celebrations with live bands, DJs and a spectacular fireworks display at midnight are free of charge and attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year.
Berlin also offers many different alternatives. Among all the alternatives, Alexanderplatz square with its World Clock is especially meaningful. The sixteen-ton world clock located in the public square of Alexanderplatz can determine the current time in 148 major cities from around the world by reading the markings on its metal rotunda. It first opened to the public in 1969 along with the Berlin TV Tower and since then, the site has become a tourist attraction and a meeting place. At every one minute, an artistic sculptural rendering of the solar system made of steel rings and spheres, rotates.
Also located in the Alexanderplatz square, the Berliner Fernsehturm (Berlin TV station) was revealed to the public along with the World Clock. It is the tallest building in Germany and the second highest in the European Union. Berlin TV station is a landmark of the city and is visible from almost every point of the city. With 7,900 cubic meters of concrete and 3,400 tons of steel, the tower is extremely heavy, and it can sway although the oscillation of the tower is hardly perceptible.
┃4! Paris, France
Paris. It’s a city that will perpetually be remembered as the most romantic city in the world. In Paris, the New Year celebrations last throughout the month as Parisians expect to send and receive New Year’s messages for the remainder of the month. How about shouting ‘Bonne Année’ with Parisians?
Champs-Élysées is the official street party for the New Year’s Eve where people can enjoy fireworks of both big and small, and on the way to the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel Tower is visible. Completed in 1889, the tower is actually built with iron, not steel! To be more specific the tower is built with puddle iron which is the result of a special baking technique relying on swirling during the liquid phase to prevent the carbon and the impurities in the metal from associating. It was quite widely used in the 19th century all over Europe.
Because the tower is made of iron, the Eiffel tower is not totally resistant to the heat and therefore ‘grows’ in the summer. As the average temperature fluctuates throughout the year so too does the height of the tower. As for a famous steel building in Paris, there is Centre Georges Pompidou (the Pompidou Center) which used polished stainless steel. The Pompidou center used a total of 15,000 tons of steel.
┃3! Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Other than the carnival, the New Year’s Eve is another time of the year when Cariocas (locals) really wine down and party. Copacabana beach, of course, is famous for the amazing celebration and fireworks display. Although there are other smaller festivities and gatherings in other locations such as on Ipanema beach, Copacabana is the site of a massive fireworks display at midnight which is famous all over the world.
There will be several million people on the beach so it will be a bit chaotic that night. In Brazil, like the rest of the South American continent, the New Year’s Eve comes during the heart of the summer, so it will be hot, possibly rainy and there will be little to no personal space.
Rio de Janeiro, the city of carnival, is also well known for the Christ the Redeemer statue. Built in the 1920s, it is the world’s tallest art deco statue, it is one the most important monuments in Brazil, situated at the top of Mountain Corcovado. With its height at 30 meters (not including the eight meters pedestal) and its width 28 meters, the statue soars on a mountaintop and 707 meters above the city of Rio.
The primary material used for the statue is soapstone, but the monument has a steel frame which was added to join the statue to the pedestal and the terrace. Visitors need to climb 220 steps in order to reach the statue, though elevators and escalators are also available.
┃2! New York City, The United States
The City of New York is also an exciting destination not only for the New Year’s Eve celebration but also for steel architecture. From the New York Times Building, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and Brooklyn Bridge, the city is not short of steel structures — it is well known that steel construction was developed and pushed to its limits in the early 20th century in New York.
Amongst all the steel structures, Brooklyn Bridge is one of ten bridges in New York that were awarded historic landmark status. As the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge, it’s 135 years old and took 14 years to complete. The iconic steel cables of the bridge consist of a total of 22,500 kilometers of steel wire. It is the oldest New York bridge still open to vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
A visit to New York City is incomplete without experiencing the top of the Empire State Building. Located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, it is a 102-floor Art Deco skyscraper. The art deco design of the building was typical of pre-World War II architecture in New York. The Empire State Building is composed of 60,000 tons of steel, 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone and granite, 10 million bricks, and 730 tons of aluminum and stainless steel. Despite the colossal size of the project, the construction of the Empire State Building took just 20 months to complete.
┃1! San Francisco, The United States
The Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco deserves a movie-star credit: it has appeared in so many films, including The Maltese Falcon (1941), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Interview with the Vampire (1994), and The Rock (1998). The bridge has even been featured on the cover of the February 26, 1976 issue of Rolling Stone.
One of the most beautiful and the most photographed bridges in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge first opened in 1937 and was both the longest and the tallest suspension bridge in the world with a main span of 1,280 meters and a total height of 227 meters connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Steel was the main construction material for the bridge. Each cable is made of 27,572 strands of wire. The total length of galvanized steel wire used to fabricate both main cables is estimated to be 130,000 km. About 83,000 tons of steel was used on the bridge where it was used in a multitude of ways. The steel cables were made by the same company that built the Brooklyn Bridge. Take out any elements of a suspension bridge, and the structure won’t stay standing for long, but the cables are particularly important. They’re strung horizontally between two massive concrete blocks called anchorages on each side of the bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1964 — now the honor belongs to Japan’s Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge.
As for the big event to ring in the New Year in San Francisco, there is the Embarcadero Fireworks Show which kicks off at midnight above the Ferry Building.
Taking a tour around the world with POSCO, it becomes obvious steel is everywhere in places both visible and less visible. In the upcoming year, POSCO’s Newsroom will come back with more interesting and critical steel stories and industry updates.
From POSCO Newsroom to everyone — from Samoa all the way to American Samoa — the first and the last place where the sun rises: Happy 2019!