O Christmas Tree

New York Travel Blog

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Every year, thousands of people – both tourists and locals alike – descend upon Rockefeller Center to witness the great lighting of the Christmas tree, a tradition that began in 1933. This year’s star player, a 60-year-old, 84-foot-tall Norwegian spruce, arrived at its new home in New York City on Nov. 9. NBC weather guy and funny man Al Roker rode the tree into its new headquarters. It was planted in Connecticut in 1947, and the couple that reared it said they were sad to see it go.

The star-studded lighting ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Rockefeller Plaza (W. 48th to 51st Sts., between 5th and 6th Aves.) and will air live on NBC. Arrive early to claim standing room. For more up-to-date information, call 212-632-3975.

Not a fan of crowds? You can still see the tree in all of her lit glory daily from 5:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. from the day of the lighting through Jan. 8, 2008.

Fun Facts:

β€’    The first nationally televised Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting was in 1951 on The Kate Smith Show; it was again lit in 1954 on The Howdy Doody Show.

β€’    The tree is transported from its home to New York City and then travels in the middle of the night with a police escort on a carefully planned route so traffic is disrupted as little as possible.

β€’    The farthest distance a tree has ever traveled to Rockefeller Center was approximately 518 miles in 1966 – from Ottawa, Canada to Midtown Manhattan.

β€’    The tree travels on a custom-made, telescoping trailer, which can stretch to 100 feet and can accommodate a tree up to 125 feet tall. It takes 15-20 people and a 280-ton, all-terrain hydraulic crane to handle the tree. The same crane is used to erect and remove the tree from its place of honor at Rockefeller Center.

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photo by: herman_munster