Connecticut Tree Bound for Rockefeller Center

By Glenn Zimmerman
|  Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009  |  Updated 5:32 PM EDT
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Check out the soon-to-be Christmas tree to adorn <a title=Rockefeller Center." />

Check out the soon-to-be Christmas tree to adorn Rockefeller Center.

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The star attraction at New York's Rockefeller Center this Christmas will be a 76-foot Norway spruce from Connecticut.

Crews cut down the 10-ton tree Wednesday morning at the Easton home of schoolteacher Maria Corti who "had an idea the tree [was] worthy of Rockefeller Center." So she contacted the decision makers -- and coincidentally, her tree was already in their sights.

"I'm glad I could share this tree with the world," Corti said. "It's a beautiful tree. It's symmetrical. It's so spectacular."

The process of sharing her tree with the world is helping her overcome a personal loss. Her horse, Dapper, recently died. She owned the animal for 16 years and explained, he represented "a big part of who I am."

She even purchased her house a year ago, with Dapper in mind. The idea was to create an exercise area for the beloved horse.

But the timing of his passing, matched the timing she learned that her tree was bound for the city.  As a little girl, Maria would go to the city to watch the tree lighting with her grandmother. This year, her journey to Rockefeller center will be far more personal.

On this Veterans Day, she is dedicating the tree to all of the veterans, and also to the animals around the country who enhance lives of so many people.

Corti will use her experience with the tree, as a teaching tool for her 5th-Grade class. They'll talk math (circumference, diameter, etc); poetry (on natural beauty); and even work on motivational writing (essays on why a tree should be chosen for such an honor).

The spruce will be hoisted by a crane onto a trailer and transported about 50 miles to New York City. The tree will be erected at the center Thursday morning, and the lighting ceremony will take place on Dec. 2.

Marketing director Keith Douglas says Rockefeller Center does aerial searches for a Christmas tree and spotted Corti's spruce as a good candidate.

After Christmas, the tree will be donated to Habitat For Humanity to use as wood for a home in Connecticut.

Last year's Rockefeller Center tree was a 72-foot-tall Norway spruce from Hamilton, N.J. The owners had used it as their first Christmas tree in 1931.

Corti said Rockefeller Center was a "magical" place her grandmother and other relatives took her to as a child to see the Christmas tree. Now she plans to return to see her own tree.

"When people from all walks of life and all corners of the world come to Rockefeller Center, it doesn't matter what kind of problems you're having," she said. "It's nice to escape and to be caught up in that moment and the goodwill."

Rockefeller Center typically receives 50 to 100 submissions a year from homeowners who think they have the perfect Christmas tree to donate, said Douglas, The center also does aerial searches and spotted Corti's spruce as a good candidate, he said.

"It just looked perfect," Douglas said. "It has a really, really nice width to the tree. It has to have a fullness to it."

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