A Tree for New York City

Last year, I wrote a post about the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Matt works near Rockefeller Center and on November 12th when he was walking to work, he passed by the Christmas tree that had just been brought in for the holiday season. I used this pictures in my post where I wrote about the history of this famous tree. That day my blog was Freshly Pressed and a few thousand people visited “The Little Things” that day to read more about the holiday festivities of New York City.

As I  wrote last year, many Rockefeller trees are given to Rockefeller Center by regular citizens (I know, I was shocked too when I learned that there wasn’t a giant tree farm outside of NYC that supplied giant Christmas trees). Members of the Gardens Division of Rockefeller Center, scout in a helicopter for the desired tree in areas including Connecticut, Vermont, Ohio, upstate New York, New Jersey, and even Ottawa, Canada. Once a suitable tree is located, a crane supports it while it is cut, and moves it to a custom telescoping trailer that can transport trees up to 125 feet (38 m) tall, although the width of New York City streets passing through Rockefeller Center limits the height of the trees to 110 ft.

Most New Yorkers don’t learn the history of the tree until the night of the tree lighting when the commentators tell its story. Thankfully, I have an “in” to this year’s tree – my amazing Grandfather!

This year’s Rockefeller Christmas tree hails from a small town in Pennsylvania called Mifflinville. This town is just 5 miles from the little town that my grandparents, aunt and uncle home. So you can imagine their excitement when they learned that the very tree that brought me blogging fame and glory last year, would be coming from their neck of the woods for this year’s holiday season. My grandfather diligently cut out the newspaper articles and mailed them over for my blogging purposes!

A crane jockeys the 75-foot, 10-ton Norway spruce from the yard of Nancy Keller in Mifflinville PA on Wednesday November 10th.

This year’s tree was nearly cut down by its owners 30 years ago; however after giving it a little pruning, he decided to keep in on his property. Thankfully he did. While driving along Interstate 80 last march, Rockefeller’s head gardener spotted this 75-year-old, 75 foot tall Norway spruce and knew it would be the perfect tree for the world’s most famous tree stand. After months of preparations and frequent visits to tend to the spruce, the official decision to send this tree to New York City.

The South Center Township Police were hired to watch the property on Halloween weekend and 24 hours a day starting on November 2nd. And as a thank you to the tree’s owners, they have been invited to visit New York this holiday season as guests of Rockefeller Center. And in the spring, the center gardening team will return to Mifflinville to plant an umbrella pine in the tree’s place.

On the morning of Wednesday November 10th, camera crews, radio personalities and approximately 150 locals gathered to watch the chain saw make quick work of the soon-to-be famous tree. In about six minutes, one man sliced through the 5-foot-wide trunk. A crane slowly lifted the tree and loaded it onto the 115-foot “tree trailer” and made to drive to the big city.

The crane that lifted the massive Norway spruce was able to lay the tree on the 115-foot trailer specially made, and only used for, transporting the Rockefeller Christmas tree to NYC
Each branch on the 46-foot-wide evergreen had already been carefully wrapped and tied in place
Children inspect the stump and count the rings

The tree branches will be covered with more than 30,000 lights and topped with the Swarovski crystal star, a 9.5 foot diameter creation made from 25,000 crystals and another 720 lightbulbs. The lights will be lit for the first time during the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Wednesday November 30th and the tree will remain up through the January 7th for the thousands of tourists who visit New York over the holiday season.

But what is most interesting about this story is what happens to the tree afterwards. After the holidays, the tree will become lumber for Habitat for Humanity and any remnants will be ground into pulp for paper to be used in printing of “The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree.”

Thank you grandpa for providing this incredible story. It could not be more fitting that he sent me this story; my grandparents love Christmas more than anyone I know. Not the material aspect, but the joy that comes from decorating their house (they have made hundreds of homemade holiday decorations over the years!) and the beauty of a well decorated tree. Thank you for passing down your love of the holidays to my mom, and now to me. I can’t wait until next Sunday to send you pictures of my tree!

Visiting my Grandpa in Florida
So glad my grandparents made the trip for my wedding!

7 thoughts on “A Tree for New York City

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