Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Tonight will be GREEN!

November 28, 2007

November may be magical, but December in New York City is down right GREEN! Huh you say?… Yes, I said green! This years picture perfect Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has a “Green” theme. For the first time in 76 years, this elegant 75 year old, 84ft Norway Spruce represents an energy efficient reminder to all of us during this busy holiday season.

Firstly, the tree was cut down in central Connecticut by 2 men using a hand held saw, just like they did in the old days. Another green conscience decision was to adorn the mighty spruce with 30,000 multicolored energy efficient light-emitting diodes. These diodes or LEDs will reduce the displays electricity consumption from 3,510 to 1,297 kilowatt hours per day. The daily savings is equal to the amount of electricity consumed by a typical 2,000 sq. ft house in a month! The tree was illuminated in front of millions during a televised event on November 28 which has become a New York holiday tradition since 1933. Even more amazing, solar panels were placed on the roof of 30 Rockefeller Center to help generate the energy needed to illuminate the lights on the tree and surrounding plaza. Mayor Michael Bloomberg hopes that using energy efficient means to light the tree will inspire millions of New Yorkers and visitors alike to make “greener” choices in their own lives. Finally, after the holidays, the green theme continues. The tree will be turned into lumber and used to build homes by Habitat for Humanity.

The Christmas tree tradition was born in the early stages of Rockefeller Center’s construction during the Great Depression. In December of 1931, construction workers placed a simple 20ft balsam fir tree amid the rubble of the future home of the British Empire Building. This first tree was decorated with strings of cranberries, paper garlands and tin cans. In 1932, there was no tree, but Radio City Music Hall celebrated the coming of the holiday season with its gala opening of the Christmas Spectacular.

The first official tree lightning was in 1933. This was the idea of Rockefeller Center’s publicist Merle Crowell, who made the first tree lightning one of the nation’s greatest publicity successes. Over the next seven decades, and to this day, with Radio City Music Hall celebrating its 75th anniversary, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center draws millions of on- lookers to awe, appreciate and enjoy the most beautiful and famous Christmas tree in America.

Here is a brief time line recognizing significant years surrounding the Rockefeller Christmas tree

  • 1931 – Construction workers place a 20ft balsam tree (smallest on record) amid the Rockefeller Center construction site. –
  • 1933 – This is the first time the tree is illuminated, kicking off a Rockefeller Center tradition.
  • 1936 – For the first time, two 70 ft Norway Spruce trees are displayed to celebrate the opening of the ice skating rink.
  • 1941 to 1943 – The tree is not illuminated due to black out restrictions during World War II.
  • 1948 – A 90ft Norway Spruce is displayed; the tallest tree ever at that time.
  • 1951 – The first time the tree lighting event is televised from coat to coast. Kate Smith flips the switch to light it up.
  • 1956 – The first time a White Spruce is displayed, it is 65ft high.
  • 1966 – A gift from Canada, a 64 ft white spruce is the first and only tree to be displayed from beyond U.S. borders.
  • 1970 -The first time the tree lightning is televised in color.
  • 1980 – A man is arrested on December 8th for attempting to climb the tree
  • 1996 – History repeats itself for the 2nd time, a 90ft Norway Spruce is displayed.
  • 1999 – a 100 year old, 100ft Norway spruce is displayed weighing in at a whopping 10 tons. A record is shattered with this being to date the largest tree ever erected at Rockefeller Center.
  • 2004 – For the first time in its 72 year history, the tree is crowned with a crystal star from Swarovski. It is composed of 25,000 crystals with 1 million facets. The largest star to adorn a Rockefeller Christmas tree
  • 2007 – The “Green” theme is introduced with energy efficient lights to promote a greener planet
Steve Duer has been captivating tour audiences with his unique, upbeat guiding style for over 18 years now while operating his own sightseeing company Marvelous Manhattan Tours NYC Inc.. In New York City, Steve is known as the “KING” of tour guides and his online reviews from past clients speak for themselves. His lively personal style bursts with originality for he is witty, knowledgeable, funny, and a natural showman.
Since 1990, Steve has hosted tours for American Express, Price-Waterhouse, Pfizer, Hormel Foods, Siemens, Hugo Boss, West Point Academy, and even the Disney Corporation. A seasoned professional, he has informed, humored, enlightened, and ultimately entertained ten’s of thousands of curious visitors from around the world. This enthusiasm for the city has spilled over into other related endeavors, including being a regular contributor to three family publications with a thought provoking column called “Duer’s did you Know?”. Currently Steve co-hosts a local travel show on award winning WVOX AM radio on Monday nights at 8:00pm. On Z- Travel and Leisure Steve does interviews, moderates discussion and engages in lively, informative ,humorous banter. Steve is also fully dedicated to pursuing a broadcast/travel reporting career in a TV related format.

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