The 1931 tree, courtesy of Tishman Speyer
The official website of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree describes the holiday tree as a “world-wide symbol of Christmas,” a statement we really can’t argue with, especially since 125 million people visit the attraction each year. And with tonight marking the 88th Tree Lighting, we decided to take a look back at the tradition’s history. From its start as a modest Depression-era pick-me-up for Rockefeller Center construction workers to World War regulations to its current 900-pound Swarovski star, there’s no shortage of interesting tidbits about one of NYC’s biggest attractions.
More on the history here
Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash
Starting this Thursday, December 3, if you want a chance to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree for five minutes (yep, there’s a time limit), you’ll need to reserve advance tickets. In his press conference today, Mayor de Blasio outlined the new system, which includes closing 49th and 50th Streets between 6th and 7th Avenues to vehicular traffic and setting up four-person “pods” where guests will be directed to see the tree. “This is going to be a challenging holiday season in a lot of ways, but it’s still going to be a beautiful one,” said the mayor.
Photo by Michael Vadon via Wikimedia
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has taken its rightful place in Midtown. This year, a 75-foot tall, 11-ton Norway Spruce from Oneonta, N.Y. will serve as the centerpiece for the famous event. Donated by Daddy Al’s General Store, the approximately 80-year-old tree last week was cut down, hoisted by a crane, and delivered by flatbed truck to Manhattan on Saturday. The public cannot attend the tree lighting ceremony this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the live event will be broadcast nationally on December 2.
Via Flickr cc
Driving in Midtown is never advised, but really must be avoided this Wednesday. The 86th annual lighting ceremony of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree kicks off tomorrow, bringing with it more than 100,000 spirited visitors and blocks of street closures. The city’s Department of Transportation designated Wednesday a “Gridlock Alert Day” for the celebration, meaning drivers can expect travel throughout the area to take twice as long as usual.
Image: Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer via TimeOut
The star that tops the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree each year never fails to dazzle; this year is no exception. The 12-ton Norway Spruce has been crowned by architect Daniel Libeskind‘s creation consisting of 3 million Swarovski crystals and weighing in at 900 pounds. The World Trade Center master site planner, known for his geometric, angular designs, called the star “a symbol that represents our greatest ambitions for hope, unity and peace.” And we can all use plenty of that.
106,400 lumens of white light, this way
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree-to-be in its birthplace in Walkill, New York.
That’s right, it’s not even Halloween yet, but the 2018 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been selected and is now being groomed for duty as the centerpiece of New York City’s treasured holiday tableau. The tree, a 72-foot Norway spruce, born and raised in Walkill, New York, is 45 feet in diameter and weighs about 12 tons. The tree will be lifted by crane onto Rockefeller Plaza on Saturday, November 10. After being wrapped with five miles of LED lights, the enormous evergreen will be crowned with a new Swarovski star designed by architect Daniel Libeskind for the free, public tree-lighting extravaganza happening this year on November 28.
Find out more
Image via Swarovski
Swarovski has tapped architect Daniel Libeskind to redesign a new star to top the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, the first time it will be replaced in 14 years. Libeskind, who is best known for designing the master site plan for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, called the star “a symbol that represents our greatest ambitions for hope, unity and peace.” According to Architectural Digest, Libeskind’s geometric, angular designs made him an easy choice as the new topper’s designer.
Get the sparkling details
Yesterday, we rounded up the massive Christmas trees around the city for those of you looking for an alternative to Rockefeller Center. But we’re sure this isn’t going to stop a lot of die-hard holiday revelers from heading over to midtown and gawking at the world’s most famous Christmas tree. So, we want to know what your plans are.
Images: Via Sister72 via photopin cc (L); Via Gray Line New York (R)
- Did you know the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has its own Twitter? Comedian Matt Haze talks about being the voice behind the account. [WSJ]
- Pop Candy author Whitney Matheson is moving out of her Brooklyn Heights apartment. But before she goes, she’s saying goodbye with a list of 33 things she’ll miss about the ‘hood. [BK Heights Blog]
- A new documentary seeks to capture the spirit and struggle of ’90s-era Lower East Side squatters. [Animal]
- Why do proposals for offshore parks like Pier 55 keep popping up all over the world? [CityLab]
- This colorful end table is covered with crocheted plastic bags. [Design Milk]
Images: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (L); Brooklyn Heights (R)
- This year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, an 85-foot Norway Spruce, is on its way to Midtown. The Daily News has great photos of the tree being cut down in Hemlock Township, Pennsylvania.
- Who doesn’t love a good loaf of bread? Even if it’s not edible. Japanese designer Yukiko Morita created Pampshades so we can all light up our homes in carbs. Check ’em out on Core77.
- We all know Banksy, but do you know Hanksy? Bowery Boogie takes a closer look at the street artist’s pun-driven campaign.
- Say goodbye to those awkward financial convos with your roommate…a new tool called Spliddit helps roomies find the easiest way to split rent. More on Gizmodo.
Images: Rockefeller Center Christmas tree via Dr.DeNo via photopin cc (L); Pampshades via Yukiko Morita (R)