As is custom, Al Roker rode the 2010 Rockefeller Tree into the plaza today, marking the beginning of the holiday season.
The 12-ton, 74-foot tall Norway spruce is being erected in Rockefeller Center on Friday. The lighting ceremony is scheduled for November 30, 2010.
The massive tree is leaving the home of Peter Acton, a New York City firefighter, firefighter, and his wife Stephanie. The Actons told NBCNewYork they are thrilled to send it to Rockefeller Center, where it will delight crowds throughout the next several months.
"This is amazing," Peter Acton said of his tree. "It's like Tree-Stock -- it's getting bigger and bigger."
But it wasn't the Actons who came up with the idea to send their mammoth tree to Rockefeller Plaza. It was Rockefeller Center Head Gardener Erik Pauze -- whose daughter spotted the 74-foot Norway spruce as he and she drove through the neighborhood to check out another potential Rockefeller centerpiece.
"I think Davey would have picked up this tree right away as well," said Pauze, referring to former Rockefeller tree scouter David Murbach, who died of heart disease in January this year. He was only 57 years old.
November 30 won't be the first time colorful Christmas lights dangle from the tree's huge branches. When Peter Acton moved to the area 11 years ago, he found Christmas lights in the branches as he was cleaning up the lawn. He estimates the lights were about 40 to 50 years old. And so they were. The boy who put them up there, now a man who lives in Vermont, remembers.
"When I was like eight I remember trying to decorate it," said Tom Lockwood, who now resides in Burlington but returned to his old home to see the tree cut down. "It was like 12 feet high at the time."
Despite the party atmosphere on the normally quiet street where workers prepared their axes to chop down the tree, there was also a sense of loss. Family members reflected on the fun they've had around it. Those memories comfort young Seamus Acton, who is happy others who don't have a Christmas tree will now be able to enjoy the one he did for so many years.
"People who can't have Christmas trees now have a Christmas tree," said the 11-year-old boy. "So it's for the whole world to see."
The first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was put up in 1931 by workers building the complex during the Depression. The first official tree lighting there was in 1933.