The Rockefeller Center Tree Is Lit! Look Back at Trees of Years Past, from Small to Super-sized


Construction workers purchased and decorated a 20-ft. tree in the Rockefeller Center construction site on Christmas Eve 1931, as the Great Depression wore on. According to Thrillist, they added just a few decorations: cranberries, paper garland and tin cans.

1of 16


The year 1933 marked the first official tree lighting ceremony, organized by a publicist for Rockefeller Center, according to TIME. The years that followed brought slightly bigger — and much brighter — trees.

2of 16


In 1936, two trees were erected to celebrate the opening of the now-famous Rockefeller Center ice skating rink.

3of 16


Rockefeller Center played a big role in the TV boom of the 1950s, and that translated to even more opulent trees. The tree made its first television appearance, on The Howdy Doody Show, and decorations went from cranberries and popcorn to red garland, white plastic globes, icicle lights and wiry white angel trumpeters.

4of 16


According to Rockefeller Center’s website, in the 1950s, “workers began using scaffolding to aid in decorating the trees. Before the decade was over, the process called for 20 men and a period of nine days.”

5of 16


Trees — which are generally donated, not purchased, and scouted by the Rockefeller Center gardening team — continued to get bigger and better throughout the 1960s. And in 1963, another first: the tree’s wood was recycled, donated to a Boy Scout troop.

6of 16


As the evergreens grew larger, the means of getting them from their “homes” to New York City grew more creative — like the time a tree was floated down the Hudson River on a barge, or when the world’s largest transport plane, an Anatov 124, flew a tree in from Ohio.

7of 16


According to Thrillist, this isn’t like your at-home Christmas tree: Cold outdoor temperatures keep it fresh, so it doesn’t require water.

8of 16


By the 1980s, the tree reached another milestone: most lights used. The year 1986 boasted a then-record 20,000 lights.

9of 16


The 1996 tree was pretty grand, but what came in 1999 was even greater: the largest Rockefeller Center tree, ever, hailing from Killingworth, Connecticut, and standing 100-ft. tall.

10of 16


The 2001 tree had special significance: in tribute to the lives lost on Sept. 11 of that year, decorations were in red, white and blue. But by 2004 it was multi-colored again, and featured a star made of Swarovski crystals, a tradition that continues today.

11of 16


The second-largest tree to ever grace Rockefeller Center, 2016’s centerpiece stood at 94-ft. tall and weighed 14 tons. Angie and Graig Eichler of Oneonta, New York, donated the Norway Spruce, which made its way into Manhattan over the George Washington Bridge.

12of 16


Weighing 12 tons and measuring 75-ft. tall, last year’s tree, a Norway Spruce, came from Jason Perrin of State College, Pennsylvania.

13of 16


The 75-year-old, 72-ft.-tall Norway spruce “grew up” 70 miles outside of Manhattan in upstate Wallkill, New York. According to the Rockefeller Center blog, the tree lived on the property of N.Y.C. transplants and recent retirees Shirley Figueroa and Lissette Gutierrez, and was visited five years ago by Rock Center head gardener Erik Pauze.

14of 16


Carol Schultz of Florida, New York, planted her tree 60 years ago in hopes that it would someday be the Rock Center tree, according to the New York Times.

“I would talk to it now and then, since it’s been small,” she said. The message: “Someday you’re going to be there.”

Schultz calls the 77-ft. Norway spruce her “80th birthday present to the world.”

15of 16


“See? Girlfriend just needed better lighting and a few extensions,” Today‘s Savannah Guthrie joked after the lighting of this year’s tree, which drew a lot of jokes after appearing quite sparse upon its arrival in N.Y.C.
The 75-foot-tall tree was found at Daddy Al’s General Store in Oneonta, New York. After it went up, it had the Internet abuzz thanks to some bare patches and less-than-perky branches.
“Wow, you all must look great right after a two-day drive, huh?” the Rockefeller Center Instagram account wrote back to commenters, adding, “Just wait until I get my lights on!”
Crews added some branches to the tree — along with the signature sparkly décor — before the big lighting on Dec. 2.

16of 16

Source: Read Full Article