Grinched! No Tree at Lincoln Center This Christmas

Annual tradition comes to end

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    The lit Lincoln Center Christmas tree is seen during the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on November 29, 2004.

    The economy is putting such a squeeze on the nation's biggest arts complex that the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is canceling its holiday tree lighting ceremony in December.

    The decorated tree erected in the center's main plaza has become an annual tradition, with a live televised ceremony drawing both New Yorkers and tourists.

    Lincoln Center blames the cancellation on what it calls "the challenging economic climate" -- and also construction at the entrance to the plaza.

    “[Construction] will be completed by next year, but it is in no shape to hold the group that the tree attracts," Kate Merlino, a spokeswoman for Lincoln Center, told the New York Times. She said the tree would be back in 2010.

    The Manhattan arts complex spends millions of dollars on single opera productions, in addition to symphony concerts, theater and dance.