Rockefeller Center Christmas tree arrives in NYC

The city got spruced up on Saturday!

The majestic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was trucked into Midtown at around 7:40 a.m.

The 75-foot-tall, 45-foot-wide, 11-ton Norway spruce was cut down in upstate Oneonta. It’s between 75 and 80 years old.

EB Kelly, managing director at Tishman Speyer, which owns Rockefeller Center, said it is “essential” that the Christmas tree tradition continues “albeit in a new manner thanks to COVID.

“While the tree and the iconic experience of ice skating under the tree will be as it has been in the past, we will have a series of new protocols of how you come see the tree. Managing crowds, making sure people are distanced, etc. It will be organized but joyful.”

The tree’s arrival marks the unofficial start of the holiday season, Kelly said, but due to COVID, “it didn’t seem appropriate to encourage a lot of people to come for today. So today, we will do the essential work that needs to get done, which is getting the tree in and up and starting to be decorated but without the groups. We hope that next year we will be able to continue that tradition of inviting New Yorkers to come and watch.”

The tree, donated by Al Dick, the owner of Daddy Al’s General Store in Oneonta, will be lit on Friday, Dec. 2.

There will be no public access to the tree lighting in the plaza between 49th and 50th streets but NBC will air “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” a national broadcast of the 88th tree lighting ceremony.

Erik Pauze, head gardener at Rockefeller Center, has been selecting the holiday tree for 11 years. He first eyed the special spruce in 2016.

“It’s gotta be a perfect tree, the kind of tree you want in your living room,” he said. “It’s gotta be big, it’s gotta be the Christmas tree shape and when we set it up, it’s going to look beautiful.”

When the tree is decorated, it will feature more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights strung on approximately 5 miles of wire. Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind in 2018, the three dimensional Swarovski star weighs approximately 900 pounds and features 70 spikes covered in 3 million crystals, according to rockefellercenter.com.

Tree visiting hours will run daily from 6 a.m. to midnight. The tree will be lit for 24 hours on Christmas Day and from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, the website says.

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