Since the ball was first organized in 1955 by exiled Jewish Austrians, it has been one of the highlights of social life in New York and one of the major meeting points of the US-Austrian community. The tradition of the original Vienna Opera Ball goes back to 1814 during the time of the Vienna Congress, where the crowned heads of Europe and the aristocracy searched for entertainment after the Napoleonic wars. The first ball in the opera house took place in 1877.