Last night was the lighting of the Rockefeller christmas tree, the symbolic beginning to the New York City holiday madness. The pounding rain dampened, but did not spoil the festivities which included performances by Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond and other famous folk. Thousands of drenched, umbrella-less spectators (including several E&V agents) huddled together around the 14 ton, 56-foot wide tree quivering with anticipation (and cold).
The Norway Spruce was selected by the head gardener of Rockefeller center, Erik Pauze who came upon the tree quite by accident while in Oneonta, NY scouting another specimen. It was perfect, and the owners Angie and Graig Eichler were happy to share it with the public.
The tree itself (which is at least 90 years old) is older than the tradition of lighting the tree in Rockefeller Center, which began in 1933. It is adorned with over 50,000 energy-efficient lights which sparkle throughout the holiday season.
The tree will have approximately 800,000 visitors a day before it is milled into lumber to build houses for Habitat for humanity. Angie Eichner described it as a “nice way for our tree to go out in style.”