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Ten Amazing Facts About the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

'27.11.2023'

Alina Prikhodko

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Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has officially arrived in New York 11 November and is ready to light up 50000 of its colorful lights and shine in the spotlight of tourists and city residents. Time-out collected 10 fascinating facts about the main Christmas tree of the city.

1. Dimensions

This year's Norway spruce reaches 24 meters in height and 13 meters in diameter. Believe it or not, this is not the tallest tree in the history of Rockefeller Center. In 1999, the height of the Connecticut spruce reached 30 meters. This year the tree weighs about 12 tons, which is the equivalent of 12 grand pianos, or about two woolly mammoths.

2 Age

The age of the tree is about 80-85 years, i.e. this tree sprouted in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

3. Place of birth

This year the tree came from Vestal, New York, in the Binghamton region. It was donated by the McGinley family. Jackie McGinley said the family never thought their tree would end up in Rockefeller Center. But when such a chance presented itself, they could not miss it.

“We would never turn down the opportunity to bring joy to millions of people,” she said.

Back in June, Rockefeller Center head gardener Eric Pose spotted the tree outside the McGinleys' home and stopped by to ask if he could take a look at it. During the summer, Pauze came again to water and feed the tree, preparing it for the special day.

On the subject: Lighting of the Christmas tree lights at Rockefeller Center: event details

“I'm looking for a tree that you would want in your living room, but on a larger scale. It has a beautiful, perfect shape all around. And most importantly, it has to look good to those kids who turn the corner at 30 Rock; it should instantly bring a huge smile to their face. It should evoke a feeling of happiness,” Pause said.

4. Chic. Shine. beauty

More than 50 colorful lights wrap around the tree in a circle. This is about 000 km of wires - and a lot of work to install the garlands.

5. Main accessory

The star on top of the tree is simply dazzling. Architect Daniel Libeskind designed the star in 2018. This three-dimensional Swarovski star weighs about 400 kg and has 70 spikes covered with 3 million crystals.

6. Volunteer Christmas tree

After the tree has provided joy during the holiday season, it is recycled. It is donated to Habitat for Humanity, where the lumber is used to build homes for those in need. The wood is used for flooring, furniture and millwork, helping build Habitat homes from New York to Mississippi.

Construction crews even put a special mark on the wood, indicating that it belongs to Rockefeller Center. A woman named Lakisha, who owns a Habitat home, says she is thrilled to see the commemorative stamp on her pantry and cabinets. “Every day is a great reminder of how far I have come,” she told Habitat for Humanity. “And that you should never give up on your dreams, no matter what.”

7. She's green - literally and figuratively.

The 50 light bulbs circling the tree are energy-efficient LEDs, which use a fraction of the energy of traditional bulbs and produce brighter colors.

8. Christmas tree with history

The tradition of planting a Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center goes back almost a century, and to be more precise, this year the tradition celebrates its 90th anniversary. In 1931, construction workers erecting Rockefeller Center erected a Christmas tree and the tradition began. Two years later, in 1933, the first official tree lighting ceremony took place at Rockefeller Center, at which 700 lights were lit.

During World War II, in 1942, three Christmas trees were erected in Rockefeller Plaza: red, white and blue - as a sign of support for American troops. Over the years, the tree lighting ceremony has evolved into the spectacular event we know and love today.

9. Who lives in the Christmas tree?

After the tree was delivered in 2020, employees were surprised to find a tiny stowaway in its branches: barn owl, which they named Rocky (short for Rockefeller). The bird was very hungry and thirsty (and probably scared) after the journey, but it survived thanks to the care of rescuers and was able to be released back into the wild.

It doesn't look like any creatures have been found in the branches this year, but maybe Flaco, the Eurasian eagle owl that escaped from the Central Park Zoo, will stop by for a visit. After all, he was flying around Manhattan this fall.

10. Invites everyone to visit

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, November 29, from 7 to 10 pm at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, you can view the tree on other days. Following the official ceremony, it will be lit daily from 5am to midnight until January 13th. On Christmas Day the tree is lit for 24 hours, and on New Year's Eve - from 5 am to 9 pm.

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