Written by 7:34 am Attractions, City Guide, The New Yorker, Things To Do

Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lights Up NYC

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The holidays seem to start earlier each year but it’s made official by the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. On Wednesday, despite heavy rainfall, the lighting ceremony continued as planned. Thousands of people gathered around Rockefeller Plaza to witness the 84th annual event.

Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb of the NBC “Today” show hosted the ceremony. Mayor Bill de Blasio joined them for the countdown, along with Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon of “Saturday Night Live”. When the time came to light the tree, Baldwin’s 3-year-old daughter, Carmen, pressed the button for the crowd. There was a number of performances at the ceremony, which included Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond, Garth Brooks and Sarah McLachlan. Before performing two songs from his recent “Acoustic Christmas” album, Diamond said:

“This is very meaningful. It’s the beginning of Christmas, as far as I’m concerned. Everybody is in the mood for it. Everyone is going to have a good time tonight and so am I. I’m happy to sing here.”

This year’s tree is a 90-year-old Norway Spruce from Oneonta, New York that stands at 94 feet and weighs a massive 14 tons. The tree is said to be decorated with 50,000 energy-efficient multi-colored lights that are strung on five miles of wire. The lights are powered by solar panels that sit on top of the Rockefeller Center buildings. The sparkling Swarovski star atop the tree contains 25,000 crystals and weighs 550 pounds.

The tree, chosen by Rockefeller Center’s head gardener, Erik Pauze, requires 30 gallons of water daily stay fresh throughout the season. According to Pauze, choosing the tree became a year-long process:

“I was on my way to a second tree. I came around a mountain and I saw this section of trees off to the side. I drove up to this one and I knew it was going to be perfect. I saw this tree towering over the house.”

The tree is lit daily from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. but will remain lit all day on Christmas. New Year’s Eve hours are from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The last day for viewing the lit tree in Rockefeller Center is Jan. 7.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/marianne_oleary

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