The new Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has arrived at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, marking the unofficial start of the holiday season.
The 75-foot-tall, 11-ton Norway spruce was cut down in Oneonta, New York earlier this week and began its long journey south to midtown Manhattan on Thursday morning.
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The tree, which was donated by Al Dick, the owner of Daddy Al's General Store in Oneonta, will be lit on Friday, Dec. 2.
“This year, we just feel the tree is vital," said Rob Speyer, president and chief executive officer of Tishman Speyer, which owns the Rockefeller Center complex.
"The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree always represents the holiday season, but it has also stood tall as a symbol of hope, resilience, and New York’s enduring spirit, from the Great Depression to 9/11, Superstorm Sandy through today. 2020 has been a difficult year, but New Yorkers have persevered, and we are determined to come back better and stronger. We are particularly proud to continue the joyous tradition this year.”
As usual, the tree will be displayed at the plaza between West 49th and 50th streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. There will be no public access to the tree lighting but NBC will air "Christmas in Rockefeller Center," a national broadcast of the 88th tree lighting ceremony.
When the tree is fully decorated, it will be glittering with more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights strung on approximately 5 miles of wire. It will be topped with a three-dimensional star that weighs approximately 900 pounds and is covered in 3 million Swarovski crystals.
For those who wish to visit the tree in person, visiting hours will run from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. 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 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is far from the first holiday tradition that has had to adjust its plans amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will feature virtual elements and pre-taped performances, along with several other "reimagined" aspects, according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, which typically welcomes about 250,000 visitors each year, will open Nov. 21 but have social distancing measures in place, and the Radio City Rockettes will not perform their annual "Christmas Spectacular" at Radio City Music Hall.