7. The tree’s lights reach farther than you can probably run
There are approximately 50,000 LED lights on 5 miles of wire, roughly 110th Street to 14th Street along Broadway. That’s one mile less than the perimeter of Central Park. It is topped with a huge Swarovski crystal star prior to the tree lighting on November 29.
8. The largest tree to date was 100ft tall
Although the tree usually stands no less than 65ft tall — or seven stories — because it needs to be dense enough to hold all the ornaments, but narrow enough to fit under bridges as it’s transported, horizontally, into Manhattan, the record-setter came from Killingworth, Connecticut and was on display in 1999. Any bigger and it probably won’t make it here, the width of New York City streets limit tree height to 110ft.
9. To find the perfect tree each year, Rockefeller Center conducts aerial searches via helicopter
For many years, David Murbach, the Center’s late garden manager, would rent a car and look for a tree on the most scenic routes. Now a team of scouts takes this loftier approach, seeking out the perfect specimen, year-round. Once spotted, a crane is required to support the tree as it’s cut, as well as to move it to a flatbed truck.
10. They’ve floated trees down the Hudson River on a barge to get them here
The size and location of the tree determine its mode of transport, trees have been driven on highways and through the streets of Manhattan on flatbed trucks, floated on a said barge, and flown in the world’s largest transport plane. They’re snuck into the city at night when traffic isn’t quite so hellacious.
11. Trees are generally donated, not purchased
Rock Center sometimes gives a small payment (in the neighborhood of $2,000) to the owners of its chosen trees. But most part with their beloved evergreens gratis, taking advantage of the garden team’s free landscaping services after the tree is removed from their grounds. Also, anyone can submit a tree for consideration, just fill out this form on Rockefeller Center’s website. You know, in case anyone out there happens to be growing gigantic Norwegian spruce on their fire escape.
12. This year’s tree is 80 years old, weighs twelve tons, and traveled approximately 240 miles to Manhattan
This year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, an enormous Norway spruce, made the journey from State College, PA, to Midtown. The 75-foot tall centerpiece of Christmas at Rockefeller Center, and the source of much of the tourist foot traffic in that area, weights approximately 12 tons and is about 80 years old. (Curbed)
13. The tree gets turned into lots of useful stuff
The evergreen has been even greener since 1971 when it was turned into 30 three-bushel bags of mulch for nature trails in upper Manhattan. It has since been used to build homes for Habitat for Humanity in New York, Louisiana, India, and Brazil, and to rebuild houses in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The stump, however, gets its own afterlife; it’s donated to the US Equestrian Team to be used as obstacle jumps.
(Sources: Thrillist and Curbed)
If you didn’t get to see the tree lighting last night (November 29, 2017) check it out here: