The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a world-wide symbol of the holidays in New York City. The 2016 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was lit for the first time on Wednesday, November 30, with live performances from 7–9pm, at Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Tens of thousands crowded the sidewalks for the event, and millions watched it live across the globe. The Tree will remain lit and can be viewed until 9 PM on January 7, 2017.

Vivere New York durante le Feste di Natale è come entrare in un sogno.

ROCKEFELLER CENTER CHRISTMAS TREE

The Christmas tree and decorations in 2015/2016.


THE HISTORY OF THE TREE

1931

In December 1931, demolition workers at the Rockefeller Center construction site pooled their money together to buy a Christmas tree. The 20-foot high balsam fir was decorated with handmade garlands by the men’s families. This photo, taken on Christmas Eve, shows the men lined up to receive their wages. [ 20 feet (6.1 meters) tall, origin not on record]


Rockefeller Center decided to make the Christmas Tree an annual tradition and held the very first tree lighting ceremony. [50 feet (15 meters) tall, origin not on record]


Two trees were erected at Rockefeller Center and a skating pageant was held at the newly-opened ice skating rink on the plaza. [70 feet (22 meters) tall, from Morristown, New Jersey]


1942

World War II ushered in an era of simple and patriotic designs, including red, white and blue unlit globes and painted wooden stars. In 1942, no materials essential to the war effort were used to decorate the Center and instead of one large tree, three more modest trees were raised. From 1942 until the end of the war, the Tree went unlit each year due to black-out regulations. The middle tree was 50 feet (15 meters) tall, from Huntington, New York. The two additional trees stood at 30 feet tall.


1951

Santa & Friends watch as the 1951 tree is raised. [82 feet (25 meters) tall, from Lake Ronkonkoma, New York]


1955

In the 1950s, workers began using scaffolding to air in decorating the trees. Before the decade was over, the process called for twenty men and a period of nine days. [85 feet (26 meters) tall, from Allamuchy, New Jersey]


1962

The Christmas Tree has long received the white-glove treatment on its journey to the heart of Manhattan. The Tree is frequently dressed in giant red bows or banners extending holiday greetings to those who witness its pilgrimage. Trucks, barges, and even a plane have all helped the Tree make it to the big city. [60 feet (18 meters) tall, from Hurley, New York]


1969

In 1969, Valerie Clarebout’s triumphant and towering wire angel figures debuted in the Channel Gardens. She created the twelve sculptures using seventy-five points of metal wire each. Valerie Clarebout passed away in 1982 at the age of seventy-four, but her legacy lives on in her resplendent gift to New York City.


1999

Christmas of 1999 boasts the largest tree in Rockefeller Center’s history. Hailing from Killingworth, Connecticut, the tree stood at 100 feet tall. [100 feet (31 meters) tall, from Killingworth, Connecticut. This was the tallest tree ever until 2015]


2001

In December 2001, visitors from around the world came after September 11th to see the Tree decorated in a patriotic red, white, and blue. [81 feet (24.5 meters) tall, from Wayne, New Jersey]


2004

In 2004, the 550-pound Swarovski star first adorned the top of the tree. It featured twenty-five thousand crystals and one million facets and was nine-and-a-half feed in diameter. The following year, the addition of L.E.D. lights made the star look as if it were radiating light from its core to its tips.


2015

2015 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree arriving at the site.


2016

The 2016 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was lit for the first time on Wednesday, November 30, with live performances from 7–9pm, at Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Tens of thousands crowded the sidewalks for the event, and millions watched it live across the globe. The Tree will remain lit and can be viewed until 9 PM on January 7, 2017.


MORE STORIES, MORE VIDEOS


JOIN THE CHRISTMAS ATMOSPHERE


Comment