Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1987 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree photographed on Thursday December 24, 1987 (Christmas Eve), a 78 foot (24 m) high Norway Spruce decorated with 18,000 lights.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a large Christmas tree placed annually in Rockefeller Center, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, United States. The tree is erected in mid November and lit in a public ceremony on the Wednesday following Thanksgiving. Since 1997, the lighting has been broadcast live, to hundreds of millions, on NBC's Christmas in Rockefeller Center telecast on a Wednesday after Thanksgiving. The tree lighting ceremony is aired at the end of every broadcast, following live entertainment and the tree is lit by the current Mayor of New York City and special guests. [1] An estimated 125 million people visit the attraction each year. [2]

The tree, usually a Norway spruce 69 to 100 feet (21 to 30 m) tall, has been a national tradition each year since 1933. [3] The 2020 Christmas Tree Lighting, which lacked the traditional audience due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, took place on December 2, 2020 and the tree remained on display until January 2, 2021. [4] [5]

Selection and decoration

Trees are traditionally donated to Rockefeller Center, which in turn donates the lumber after display. Until his death in 2009, the late David Murbach, [6] Manager of the Gardens Division of Rockefeller Center, scouted for the desired tree in upstate New York and surrounding states, and even Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. [7]

Erik Pauzé, Head Gardener at Rockefeller Center, looks for each year's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. He visits nurseries throughout the tri-state area and looks for unique backyard trees. Trees are also submitted for consideration through Rockefeller Center's website. Pauzé and his team choose each year's tree based on its heartiness and "Christmas tree shape," as well as its ability to support the heavy ornaments. [8]

Once a tree is selected, a crane supports the tree while it is cut, then moved to a custom telescoping trailer able to transport trees up to 125 feet (38 m) tall, although the narrowness of the streets around Rockefeller Center limits the height of the tree to 100 feet (30 m). The tree is then delivered to the city by a local company, Christmas Tree Brooklyn. On its way to Manhattan, the tree is often dressed in giant red bows or banners extending holiday greetings to witnesses. Trucks, barges, and a transport plane have all been used to help the tree make the trip. [9]

Once at Rockefeller Center, the tree is supported [10] by four guy-wires attached at its midpoint and by a steel spike at its base. Scaffolding is erected around the tree to assist workers in hanging about 50,000 multi-colored LED lights and the star top. [11] A new crystal star of Swarovski crystal which tops the tree was created in 2018 and designed by the renowned architect Daniel Liebeskind. [12] The new luminous stellar body features 70 spikes and three million crystals with LED lighting spots by the company Oznium. [13] who worked with the engineers. In total it weighs 900 pounds (408 kg). [14]

History

The first tree at Rockefeller Center, erected by construction workers in 1931 shortly after the site was cleared. Above, the workers line up for pay beside the tree, adorned with garlands made by workers' families.

The first Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center was erected in 1931, during the Depression-era construction of Rockefeller Center, when workers decorated a smaller 20 foot (6.1 m) balsam fir with "strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even a few tin cans" [15] on Christmas Eve. [16] With the lighting of the 50-foot-tall (15 m) first official tree two years later, the tree became what Rockefeller Center dubbed "a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike". A skating rink was opened below the tree in the plaza in 1936. [2]

Since then, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been a yearly tradition. [15] Workers pooled their money for that unlit tree, with the garlands made by workers' families. According to Rockefeller Center's website, the tree was "from the beginning ... a gathering place and reflection of what was happening in the world around it". [9]

World War II ushered in simple, patriotic decorations, including red, white and blue unlit globes and painted wooden stars. In 1942, instead of one large tree, three more modest trees were raised, each decorated in one of the flag's colors. From 1944 until the war's end in 1945, the tree went unlit due to blackout regulations. [2] After the war, the year of darkness was left behind, as six ultraviolet light projectors were employed to make it appear as though the tree's 700 fluorescent globes were glowing in the dark. [2] By the 1950s, workers began using scaffolding to decorate the tree, as larger trees were accommodated. Before the decade was over, the decorating process called for 20 workers and nine days. [9] 1951 marked the first time that NBC televised the tree lighting with a special on The Kate Smith Show. [2] In 1969, artist Valerie Clarebout's towering wire herald angels were added to the Channel Gardens in front of the tree near Fifth Avenue. Clarebout created the 12 sculptures using 75 points of metal wire each. [9] [17]

The 1971 tree, a 65-footer from East Montpelier, Vermont, was the first to be mulched and recycled. It was turned into 30 three-bushel bags of mulch for the nature trails of upper Manhattan. Though the tree typically makes its journey on a truck bed, in 1998 it was flown in from Richfield, Ohio, on the world's largest transport plane. [2] 1999 saw Rockefeller Center's tallest tree, a 100 foot (30 m) spruce from Killingworth, Connecticut. [18]

In 2001, following the September 11 attacks, the tree was again decorated in hues of red, white and blue. [9] In 2007, the tree went "green", converting to energy-efficient lighting with LEDs. [19] [20] The LEDs use 1,200 fewer kilowatts of electricity per day, enough to power a 2,000-square-foot home for a month. [2] Also since 2007, each year after display, the tree has been milled into lumber and donated to Habitat for Humanity for use in house construction. [21] Since 2011, the tree lighting ceremony has been followed by the singing of Joy to the World, which has, since 2018, been performed by the Main Street Gospel choir.

Until 2018, the lighting was the last moment of the program, and has since been moved to the last ten minutes.

On November 16, 2020, an adult female northern saw-whet owl was found dehydrated and hungry within the wrapped branches of the newly delivered tree during its installation. The bird was discovered by workers who transported the spruce 170 miles from Oneonta, New York to New York City. The feathered stowaway, named Rockefeller (Rocky), endured the three-day road trip and generated much public interest and media coverage. She was taken to a wildlife center for a check-up and nursed to full strength before being released on the grounds of the wildlife center in Saugerties, New York. [22]

Display

The 2016 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, a 94-foot (29 m) high Norway Spruce

The decorated tree remains on display at Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues, at least through January 6 of the new year. As of 2019, more than a half million people passed by the tree each day while it is on display, according to Rockefeller Center. [9]

Broadcasting

Since 1997, the lighting ceremony has been broadcast live on NBC in the first hour of primetime, live in the Eastern and Central time zones, and on tape elsewhere. [5] The ceremony is hosted by Today's Al Roker (1997–present), Savannah Guthrie (2012–present), and Hoda Kotb (2017–present). In 2020, MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin co-hosted as well. [4] Until 1997, it had been broadcast before primetime exclusively in New York on WNBC. In 2019, a second hour was added, meaning the tree is now lit just before 10 p.m. ET.

Yearly tree details

Year Original location Tree type Height Lighting ceremony/Misc
1933 Balsam fir 50 ft (15 m) [2]
1934 Babylon, New York [23] Norway spruce 70 ft (21 m) December 20, 1934
1935 Norway spruce 80 ft (24 m) [24]
1936 Morristown, New Jersey [25] Norway spruce 70 ft (21 m) Twin trees with newly-opened skating rink
1937 Allamuchy, New Jersey [26] Norway spruce 70 ft (21 m) Twin trees
1938 Norway spruce 70 ft (21 m) [27] December 19, 1938 / Twin trees
1939 Town Unknown, New Jersey [26] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) [28] decorated only with floodlights and one star
1940 Hyde Park, New York [29] Norway spruce 88 ft (27 m) [30]
1941 Norway spruce 83 ft (25 m) Four reindeer featured with the display [31]
1942 Huntington, New York, [30] Norway spruce 50 ft (15 m) Three trees not lighted, painted red, white & blue [32]
1944 Long Island, New York Norway spruce 65 ft (20 m) [33] Unlit since 1941. Known as "The Dark Trees" [34]
1945 Syosset, New York Norman spruce 55 ft (17 m) [35] December 14, 1945
1946 Syosset, New York Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) [36]
1947 Deer Park, New York [30] Norway spruce 65 ft (20 m) [37]
1948 Mount Kisco, New York [30] Norway spruce 90 ft (27 m) [38] December 10, 1948
1949 Yaphank, New York [30] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) [39] December 9, 1949 / Spray-painted white [34]
1950 Mount Kisco, New York [30] Norway spruce 85 ft (26 m) [40]
1951 Lake Ronkonkoma, New York [25] Norway spruce 82 ft (25 m)
1952 Allamuchy, New Jersey [26] [25] [41] Norway spruce 85 ft (26 m) from Peter Stuyvesant Estate
1953 Morristown, New Jersey [30] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) [42]
1954 Belvidere, New Jersey [43] Norway spruce 65 ft (20 m)
1955 Belvidere, New Jersey [44] Norway spruce 65 ft (20 m)
1956 Whitefield, New Hampshire [45] [46] White spruce 64 ft (20 m) December 6, 1956
1957 Island Pond, Vermont [30] [47] White spruce 67 ft (20 m)
1958 East Madison, Maine [48] White spruce 64 ft (20 m) December 11, 1958
1959 Podunk, Massachusetts [49] Norway spruce 70 ft (21 m) December 10, 1959
1960 North Harford, Pennsylvania [50] [30] Norway spruce 80 ft (24 m)
1961 Smithtown, New York [51] Norway spruce 85 ft (26 m) December 7, 1961
1962 Greenville, Maine [52] White spruce 67 ft (20 m) December 6, 1962
1963 Hurley, New York [25] [53] Norway spruce 60 ft (18 m) December 12, 1963
1964 Lake Carmel, New York [54] Norway spruce 60 ft (18 m) December 10, 1964
1965 Darien, Connecticut [55] Norway spruce 60 ft (18 m) December 9, 1965
1966 Ottawa, Canada [56] White spruce 64 ft (20 m)
1967 Coventry, Vermont [57] Balsam fir 65 ft (20 m)
1968 Holland, Vermont [30] White spruce 60 ft (18 m)
1969 Saranac Lake, New York [58] Balsam fir 70 ft (21 m) December 11, 1969
1970 Coventry, Vermont [30] White spruce 60 ft (18 m)
1971 East Montpelier, Vermont [30] Balsam fir 65 ft (20 m)
1972 Old Bridge, New Jersey [30] Norway spruce 65 ft (20 m)
1973 Tenafly, New Jersey [30] Norway spruce 65 ft (20 m)
1974 Lehighton, Pennsylvania [30] Norway spruce 63 ft (19 m)
1975 New Canaan, Connecticut [30] Balsam fir 59 ft (18 m)
1976 Montclair, New Jersey [30] White spruce 65 ft (20 m)
1977 Dixfield, Maine [30] White spruce 65 ft (20 m)
1978 Mahwah, New Jersey [59] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m)
1979 Spring Valley, New York [30] Norway spruce 65 ft (20 m)
1980 Mahwah, New Jersey [60] Norway spruce 70 ft (21 m) December 8, 1980
1981 West Danville, Vermont [30] White spruce 65 ft (20 m) December 7, 1981
1982 Mahwah, New Jersey [30] Norway spruce 70 ft (21 m) December 6, 1982
1983 Valley Cottage, New York [30] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) December 5, 1983
1984 Far Hills, New Jersey [30] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) December 3, 1984
1985 Harveyville, Pennsylvania [61] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) December 9, 1985
1986 Nanuet, New York [62] Norway spruce 68 ft (21 m) December 1, 1986
1987 Suffern, New York [30] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) December 1, 1987
1988 Raritan Township, New Jersey [30] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m)
1989 Montebello, New York [63] Norway spruce 70 ft (21 m)
1990 West Norwalk, Connecticut [30] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m)
1991 Suffern, New York [30] Norway spruce 65 ft (20 m) December 3, 1991
1992 Stony Point, New York [64] Norway spruce 65 ft (20 m)
1993 Nanuet, New York [30] Norway spruce 85 ft (26 m)
1994 Ridgefield, Connecticut [30] Norway spruce 85 ft (26 m) December 2, 1994
1995 Mendham Borough, New Jersey [30] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) December 5, 1995
1996 Armonk, New York [65] Norway spruce 90 ft (27 m) December 3, 1996
1997 Stony Point, New York [30] Norway spruce 70 ft (21 m) December 2, 1997
1998 Richfield, Ohio [66] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) December 2, 1998
1999 Killingworth, Connecticut [67] Norway spruce 100 ft (30 m) December 1, 1999
2000 Buchanan, New York [68] Norway spruce 80 ft (24 m) November 29, 2000
2001 Wayne, New Jersey [69] Norway spruce 81 ft (25 m) November 28, 2001
2002 Bloomsbury, New Jersey [70] Norway spruce 76 ft (23 m) December 4, 2002
2003 Manchester, Connecticut [71] Norway spruce 79 ft (24 m) December 3, 2003
2004 Suffern, New York [71] Norway spruce 71 ft (22 m) November 30, 2004
2005 Wayne, New Jersey [72] Norway spruce 74 ft (23 m) November 30, 2005
2006 Ridgefield, Connecticut [73] Norway spruce 88 ft (27 m) November 29, 2006
2007 Shelton, Connecticut [74] Norway spruce 84 ft (26 m) November 28, 2007
2008 Hamilton Township, New Jersey [75] Norway spruce 72 ft (22 m) December 3, 2008
2009 Easton, Connecticut [76] Norway spruce 76 ft (23 m) December 2, 2009
2010 Mahopac, New York [77] Norway spruce 74 ft (23 m) November 30, 2010
2011 Mifflinville, Pennsylvania [78] Norway spruce 74 ft (23 m) November 30, 2011
2012 Flanders, New Jersey [79] Norway spruce 80 ft (24 m) November 28, 2012
2013 Shelton, Connecticut [80] Norway spruce 76 ft (23 m) December 4, 2013
2014 Danville, Pennsylvania [81] Norway spruce 85 ft (26 m) December 3, 2014
2015 Gardiner, New York [82] Norway spruce 78 ft (24 m) December 2, 2015
2016 Oneonta, New York [83] Norway spruce 94 ft (29 m) November 30, 2016
2017 State College, Pennsylvania [84] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) November 29, 2017
2018 Wallkill, New York [85] Norway spruce 72 ft (22 m) November 28, 2018
2019 Florida, New York [86] Norway spruce 77 ft (23 m) December 4, 2019
2020 Oneonta, New York [87] Norway spruce 75 ft (23 m) December 2, 2020

See also

References

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Bibliography

Further reading

External links


Latitude and Longitude:

40°45′31″N 73°58′42″W / 40.75861°N 73.97833°W / 40.75861; -73.97833

  1. ^ "Oznium LEDs Light Up New Star at Rockefeller Center". Oznium. December 11, 2018. Retrieved April 23, 2019.