Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lights up

NEW YORK — With a flick of the switch, a 76-foot Norway Spruce officially became the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree after it was illuminated for the first time this holiday season in a ceremony that’s been held since 1933.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg turned on the lights just before 9 p.m. Wednesday, setting off a dazzling 45,000 multi-colored LED lights and a 9 1/2-foot-wide Swarovski star that topped the 12-ton tree.

Adam Connery, 41, and his wife Kristy Connery, 37, from Tyngsborough, Mass., watched the ceremony on their first vacation to New York City.

“It’s gorgeous, it’s enormous,” said Kristy Connery of the massive tree towering above the hundreds of thousands of people who gathered to watch the ceremony. “Christmas is my favorite time of the year.”

The holiday event in midtown Manhattan also was watched by millions on television. The tree will be on display until Jan. 7, after which it’ll be milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.

Artists such as Mary J. Blige, the Goo Goo Dolls, Jewel, Mariah Carey and Leona Lewis performed.

Lamar Lakins, 37, a housekeeper from Queens, brought his wife, mother, 10-year-old daughter Shanel, and newborn son to watch the performances and see the tree lighting.

He and Shanel danced together in the plaza during a performance of “Jingle Bells.”

“I just love this,” he said of the gathering. “It’s just people out enjoying themselves. I’m definitely a fan of the holiday season.”

The approximately 75-year-old tree made the 70-mile trip to New York City on a tractor-trailer from its home in Shelton, Conn., last month.

Danbury, Conn., resident Mary Hynes, 60, declared the show to be “outstanding.”

“The excitement of the crowd, the brilliance of the lights. It was great,” she said.

“Today Show” personalities Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales co-hosted “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” which aired on NBC.

They dedicated the broadcast to James Lovell, 58, a married father of four and a sound and lighting expert who worked on the tree. Lovell was one of four people killed when a Metro-North commuter train derailed in the Bronx on Sunday. He was on his way to work on the tree when the accident occurred.

More in Local News

It’s hard to find a parking spot at Wallace Falls State Park

There’s a study under way on how to tackle that issue and others.

At long last, a church of his own

After years of filling in elsewhere, Hallack Greider is the new pastor at Maplewood Presbyterian.

Judge: Lawmakers’ emails, texts subject to public disclosure

News organizations had sued to challenge the Legislature’s claim that members were exempt.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Outgoing councilwoman honored by Marysville Fire District

The Marysville Fire District in December honored outgoing City Councilwoman Donna Wright… Continue reading

Officials rule train-pedestrian death an accident

The 37-year-old man was trying to move off the tracks when the train hit him, police say.

Ex-Monroe cop re-arrested after losing sex crime case appeal

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison but was free while trying to get his conviction overturned.

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Number of flu-related deaths in county continues to grow

Statewide, 86 people have died from the flu, most of whom were 65 or older.

Most Read