The giant evergreen that will light up the Rockefeller Center plaza for this year's holiday season has arrived in New York City.
The 78-foot Norway spruce was spotted late Thursday evening making its way down Columbus Avenue on a giant trailer, accompanied by a full police escort, as seen on photos posted to social media.
It was parked outside Rockefeller Center Friday morning until its big reveal on NBC's "Today" before being hoisted into place outside the front doors of the Comcast Building.
The 10-ton tree was cut down from a home in Ulster County before making its way to the city. It was cut down from the Gardiner property of Albert Asendorf and Nancy Puchalski and put on a 115-foot-long trailer to make the 80-mile journey to Rockefeller Center. It'll be erected on Friday.
This year's tree, which is about 80 years old, is 78 feet tall and 47 feet wide.
It will be illuminated for the first time on Dec. 2 in a ceremony that's been held since 1933. The lighting ceremony will take place between 7 and 9 p.m.
The tree will be illuminated by 45,000 multi-colored LED lights on 5 miles of wire. This year marks the 12th year the Swarovski Star will top the tree.
It will be lit every day from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. until Jan. 7., except for Christmas when it will be lit for 24 hours and New Year's Eve when it will be lit until 9 p.m.
After it goes down, the tree will be milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.
Here are some historical facts about the Rockefeller Center Tree:
- 1931 – Construction workers building Rockefeller Center put up a Christmas tree, the first- ever Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
- 1933 - First formal Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony. The tree was decked with 700 lights in front of the eight-month-old RCA Building.
- 1936 - Two trees, each 70 feet (21.3 m) tall, were erected. For the first time the Lighting Ceremony included a skating pageant on the newly opened Rockefeller Plaza Outdoor Ice Skating Pond.
- 1942 - Three trees were placed on Rockefeller Plaza, one decorated in red, one in white and one in blue to show support for our troops serving during World War II.
- 1949 - The tree was painted silver, to look like snow.
- 1951 – The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was lit for the first time on national television on the Kate Smith Show.
- 1966 - The first tree from outside the United States was erected. It was given by Canada, in honor of the Centennial of its Confederation. This is the farthest distance a tree has traveled to Rockefeller Center.
- 1980 - For the 50th Anniversary of Tree Lighting, a 70 foot-tall (21.3 m) Norway Spruce came from the grounds of the Immaculate Conception Seminary of Mahwah, N.J. Bob Hope participated in the Lighting.
- 1999 – The largest tree in Rockefeller Center history, 100 feet tall (30.5 m), came from Killingworth, Conn.
- 2004 – The Swarovski-designed star became the largest star to ever grace the tree.
- 2007 – For the first time, the tree was lit with energy-efficient LEDs. They draw a fraction of the power that had been traditionally required by the tree, reducing energy consumption from 3,510 kwH to 1,297 kwH per day, saving as much energy as a single family would use in a month in a 2,000 square foot (185.8 m²) home. Hundreds of solar panels atop one of the Rockefeller Center buildings help power the new LEDs.