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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

image of Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

In 1931, a group of workmen placed a small undecorated Christmas tree on the construction site of the Rockefeller Center. Two years later they put up another tree and adorned it with 700 lights. Since then a tree has been displayed in the Rockefeller Center every year, and the lighting ceremony has become the hallmark of the holiday season in New York.

This year‚s tree belongs to Carmine and Mary Rizzo, who submitted a photo of a gigantic evergreen that has been growing in their backyard in Bloomsbury, N.J. for over 70 years. In the past, the perfect tree was usually picked out during a helicopter search conducted by the Rockefeller Center gardens manager.

Rizzos‚ tree weighs seven tons and is 76 feet high, which is 24 feet less than the Norway spruce of 1945 Ų the tallest tree ever displayed in the Rockefeller Center. The tree is adorned with 30,000 colorful lightbulbs strung on five miles of wire.

The lighting ceremony will take place on December 4th at 8:50 p.m., and the tree will remain on display until January 7, 2003. Then, like its predecessors, it will be recycled. The shredded bits are to be donated to the Boy Scouts of America, who will use them as ground cover at their camps. The largest piece of the trunk will be offered to the U.S. Equestrian Team in Gladstone, N.J., and will be used as part of its obstacle course.

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