Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Arrives in New York City

What to Know

  • The 94-foot Norway spruce was cut down upstate on Thursday morning
  • It was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled 140 miles to NYC, where it arrived on Friday night
  • It will be hoisted in place and covered in 50,000 lights ahead of a tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 30

This year's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree arrived in New York City on Friday night. 

The truck carrying this year's tree drove over the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan around 10 p.m. 

The 94-foot Norway spruce, owned by Angie and Graig Eichler, was cut down Thursday morning in Oneonta. Two massive cranes moved the tree — the second largest to ever grace Rockefeller Center — onto a flatbed truck. It made the 140-mile trek from upstate to Manhattan in about a day and a half.

Eichler said Thursday his family was excited to donate the tree, adding it was a big deal for the Oneonta community. About 100 people turned out to watch the tree come down.  

"We'll miss the shade but for the most part we're happy to gain the space back, because it did monopolize the entire yard," Eichler said.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree crossed the George Washington Bridge on Friday night as it finishes the final leg of its journey ahead of a lighting ceremony on Nov. 30.

On Friday night, people took photos and videos of the tree as it rolled down Manhattan streets and posted them on social media. Many said they were surprised to see the tightly wrapped spruce coming down the avenues with police escorts. At one point the tree passed anti-Trump protesters on Fifth Avenue, and they stopped to watch the tree go by, a Twitter user @jacktame tweeted.

"It's the Christmas tree, oh my God! It's the Rockefeller Christmas tree," Instagram user @billnakia said in a video as he watched the tree go down Amsterdam Avenue at West 126th Street. "There she goes. Now that's a good omen."

Crowds gathered at the Rockefeller Center Plaza on Saturday morning despite the 40-degree chill. Tourists excitedly snapped photos and posed in front of the second-biggest Rockefeller Center tree ever. Pockets of neon yellow could be seen through the leaves and branches as workers clipped stray leaves and began to string lights around the spruce's robust trunk.

At Rockefeller Center on Saturday, the Eichlers drove a spike into the trunk of the tree with a sledgehammer and it was lifted off the flatbed trailer by crane and hoisted into place. Then comes the painstaking job of installing its 50,000 lights. 

The tree's lights will be switched on during a live television broadcast on Nov. 30. The spruce will stay on display until Jan. 7.

Rockefeller Center's trees are usually milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity after they're taken down. 

This year’s tree is between 90 and 95 years old and weighs 14 tons. The 50,000 lights that will adorn it are on 5 miles of wire. The Swarovski Star that sits atop the tree has energy-efficient LED bulbs and 25,000 crystals with one million facets.

The first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was put up in 1931 by workers building the complex during the Great Depression. The first official tree lighting there was in 1933.

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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