A few blocks from our newest NYC virtual office and office space location at 1180 Avenue of the Americas, one of New York’s most storied Christmas traditions will return this evening, as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit this evening at 9 PM tonight, November 28th.
The lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, like many New York City ns, has evolved from a small event into a blockbuster entertainment event, broadcast on NBC 4 and watched around the globe via the internet. Thousands from both the New York City metro area and internationally will be lining 47-50th streets, 5th and 6th Avenues to watch New York’s largest Christmas Tree light up and add to the already brilliant Midtown Manhattan sky at night. The tree is far from the only attraction – the Radio City Rockettes will be performing, and ice skaters performing on the Rockefeller Ice Rink. Crowds are expected for musical performances by popular musical acts such as Rod Steward, Tony Bennett, Cee Lo Green, Mariah Carey and Billy Crystal.
But, the event wasn’t always so big. It started in 1931 when workers building Rockefeller Center put up a small 20 foot tree, decorated with simple strings of berries, paper garland and a few tin cans and tin foil blasting caps. There was no tree put up in 1932, but the tree returned in 1933, during the Depression. Since then, it’s been a New York City Christmas icon, and the celebration grows every year!
The first tree is in stark contrast to this year’s tree. A eight-foot Norway Spruce has been selected as this year’s tree, from Mount Olive, New Jersey – about an hour from Manhattan. The owner, Joe Balku, lost power and many other trees on his property during Hurricane Sandy, but the 80-foot tree, which is 50 feet in diameter and weighs 10 tons, was unmoved by the storm. The decorations have come a long way as well – long gone are the days of tin foil and paper garland. This year’s tree constants 30,000 energy-efficient LED lights, attached and powered by 5 miles of wiring; and is supported by 4 guide wires. The star topping the tree is a 9.5 foot Swarovski star that weighs 550 pounds. After the tree is taken down, is is used for lumber by Habitat for Humanity, mulch for the Boy Scouts of America, and the largest portion of the stump is given to the US Equestrian Team in New Jersey to be used as a jumping obstacle. The tree will be lit from 5:30 to 11:30 PM daily, and all day Christmas Day; and will be turned off on January 7th.
For those in attendance, the most popular subway stop is 47-50th St. Rockefeller Center station on the B/D/M/F lines, but it is also easily accessible from other stations including the 5th/53rd stop on the M/E or south at 5th/59th St. on the Q/N/R. If you’re coming from an office space in New York that’s near Grand Central Station, like our center at 275 Madison Avenue, you can take the 6 from Grand Central to 51st/Lexington; or walk and enjoy the crisp winter air! We hope you get to see this iconic New York landmark and enjoy the spirit of Christmas in New York City.