Rockefeller Center Christmas tree - New York News

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

Posted: Updated:
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit during the 80th annual tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center in New York, Nov. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit during the 80th annual tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center in New York, Nov. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

By DEEPTI HAJELA | AP

NEW YORK (AP) — An 80-foot Norway spruce that made it through Superstorm Sandy was transformed into a beacon of shimmering glory Wednesday when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others turned its lights on at Rockefeller Center.

Thousands of onlookers crowded behind barricades on the streets that surrounded the center during the traditional tree-lighting ceremony for the Christmas holiday season. A video screen projected an image of the tree for those who did not have a direct line of sight.

"It makes me want to sing and dance," said Zuri Young, who came several hours early with her boyfriend to watch the lighting for the first time.

"I've heard a lot about it. I was kind of sick of staying home and watching it on television," the 19-year-old nursing student from Queens said.

Illuminated by more than 30,000 lights, the tree from the Mount Olive, N.J., home of Joe Balku was topped by a Swarovski star. The 10-ton tree had been at the homestead for years, measuring about 22-feet tall in 1973 when Balku bought the house. Wednesday, its girth reached about 50 feet in diameter.

"It's an experience that I cannot get back home," said Freyja Shairp, a 22-year-old from Sidney, Australia, who is working in the U.S. temporarily. She said she hadn't planned to come, but was in the neighborhood.

Standing next to her was Donna D'Agostino, 48, and her 17-year-old daughter. She said she lived in New York City her whole life and decided this was the year she was going to see the lighting.

"It's a bucket list item," said D'Agostino. "I think it starts the whole season."

Balku lost power and other trees during the Oct. 29 storm at his residence about an hour outside of Manhattan. The spruce survived, and Erik Pauze, the head gardener at Tishman Speyer, one of the owners of Rockefeller Center, picked out the tree. He said he found it by accident when he got lost while returning to the city on a tree hunting expedition.

"It wasn't even on our list. It was a good find," Pauze said.

Pauze said workers prepared for Superstorm Sandy by bracing the tree with cables to secure and protect it. It was moved in November.

Officials turned on the lights just before 9 p.m. Wednesday in the 80th annual celebration. Prior to that, the tree-lighting event include performances from Rod Stewart, Cee Lo Green, Scotty McCreery, Il Volo, Victoria Justice, Brooke White, Mariah Carey, Trace Adkins and Tony Bennett, along with appearances by Billy Crystal and Bette Midler.

The tradition of a Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center started in 1931, when workers building the center put up the first one. No tree was put up the following year, and in 1933, the first tree-lighting ceremony took place.

People will be able to view the tree until Jan. 7. After its stint in the spotlight, it will be turned into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Another video shows NYPD cop putting man in choke hold

    Another video shows NYPD cop putting man in choke hold

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:08 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:08:13 GMT
    The NYPD is investigating another apparent choke-hold incident during a recent arrest that was captured on video. The video shows a police officer putting a man in a choke hold and then punching him in the face in a subway station in Harlem, police said. A community activist said he received the new video but never had any intention of releasing it to the media.
    The NYPD is investigating another apparent choke-hold incident during a recent arrest that was captured on video. The video shows a police officer putting a man in a choke hold and then punching him in the face in a subway station in Harlem, police said. A community activist said he received the new video but never had any intention of releasing it to the media.
  • Some StubHub accounts breached

    Some StubHub accounts breached

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 4:34 PM EDT2014-07-23 20:34:20 GMT
    Six people were indicted Wednesday in an international ring that managed to take over more than 1,000 StubHub users' accounts and fraudulently buy tickets to such prime events as Jay-Z and Elton John concerts, a New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game and Broadway shows like "The Book of Mormon," the Manhattan district attorney said. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the thieves would then resell the tickets and split up the proceeds.
    Six people were indicted Wednesday in an international ring that managed to take over more than 1,000 StubHub users' accounts and fraudulently buy tickets to such prime events as Jay-Z and Elton John concerts, a New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game and Broadway shows like "The Book of Mormon," the Manhattan district attorney said. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the thieves would then resell the tickets and split up the proceeds.
  • Bloomberg flies to Israel in show of support

    Bloomberg flies to Israel in show of support

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 4:12 PM EDT2014-07-23 20:12:27 GMT
    Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Israel via a commercial El Al flight despite an FAA ban on U.S.-based airlines flying to Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Bloomberg on the tarmac outside the El Al jet Wednesday at Ben Gurion International Airport.
    Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Israel via a commercial El Al flight despite an FAA ban on U.S.-based airlines flying to Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Bloomberg on the tarmac outside the El Al jet Wednesday at Ben Gurion International Airport.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Funeral for man who died after NYPD choke hold arrest

    Funeral for man who died after NYPD choke hold arrest

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:46:09 GMT
    An overflow crowd packed a church on Wednesday night for the funeral of a man who died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent choke hold. Eric Garner's relatives stopped in front of his open casket, some weeping and wailing. A preacher opened the service at Brooklyn's Bethel Baptist Church with a mix of solemn prayer and an organ-backed gospel medley.
    An overflow crowd packed a church on Wednesday night for the funeral of a man who died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent choke hold. Eric Garner's relatives stopped in front of his open casket, some weeping and wailing. A preacher opened the service at Brooklyn's Bethel Baptist Church with a mix of solemn prayer and an organ-backed gospel medley.
  • Another video shows NYPD cop putting man in choke hold

    Another video shows NYPD cop putting man in choke hold

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:08 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:08:13 GMT
    The NYPD is investigating another apparent choke-hold incident during a recent arrest that was captured on video. The video shows a police officer putting a man in a choke hold and then punching him in the face in a subway station in Harlem, police said. A community activist said he received the new video but never had any intention of releasing it to the media.
    The NYPD is investigating another apparent choke-hold incident during a recent arrest that was captured on video. The video shows a police officer putting a man in a choke hold and then punching him in the face in a subway station in Harlem, police said. A community activist said he received the new video but never had any intention of releasing it to the media.
  • New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices