Uniquely NYC
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony has been one of the most celebrated and crowd pleasing holiday traditions in NYC for over 75 years. NBC produces a live telecast of this celebrity studded event, featuring performances by famous artists. The tree itself is a cascade of green branches adorned with five miles of lights and a sparkly Swarovski star atop. It is located in Rockefeller Plaza, a half block west of Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. There are two rows of illuminated angels “sounding” their trumpets in front of it, and an army of giant tin soldiers lined along the ice skating rink.
It all begins with the search for a perfect tree. People from all over the United States submit photos of their trees, offering them to Rockefeller Center. The tree is donated; the only compensation to the donor family is the pride of having their tree displayed at the Rockefeller Center. The Rockefeller Center gardens management specifies the desired dimensions: a minimum of 65 feet tall and 35 feet wide. However, the selected tree is usually 75 to 90 feet tall and proportionately wide. This means that the tree is typically a Norway Spruce, a native of Northern Europe. However, Norway Spruce normally don’t reach those dimensions in forests, so the Rockefeller Center tree is most likely to be one that was planted for ornamental purposes.
More than 30,000 multicolored, 7 1/2-watt bulbs arestrung on over 5 miles of electrical wire to decorate the tree. Each branch is individually wrapped to achieve the full lighting effect and there were no other ornaments on the tree except for the star on top. The tree is recycled and the 3 tons of mulch are donated to the Boy Scouts. The largest portion of the trunk is donated to the U.S. Equestrian team in New Jersey to use as an obstacle jump.
RockellerCenter.com NYC.com/RockefellerCenterChristmasTree tripsavvy.com/rockefeller-center-christmas-tree-visitors-guide