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Travel Rockefeller tree lighting closed to public for first time in 88 years

16:20  03 december  2020
16:20  03 december  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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NYPD buses blocked spectators who had gathered to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree .

When is the tree lighting ? The ceremony starts at 8 o’clock tonight; the tree will be lit at 9:45 p.m Center Plaza, where the tree is set up, is closed to the public . The Rockefeller Center website has a map. My first day back, I ordered my bagel and then started to make my coffee. It felt to me like the

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Rockin' around the Christmas tree looks different for visitors at Rockefeller Center this year, starting with Wednesday nights tree lighting ceremony.

What's normally a chaotic, crowded tourist hotspot during the holiday season was instead a mask-mandated, time-limited, socially distanced locale due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event was closed to the public for the first time in its 88 year history with the NYPD blocking roads, increasing patrols and even using busses and tarps to block the view of the iconic event.

The tree, a 75-foot Norway spruce, had its holiday lights turned on in an event that was broadcast on television but closed to the public.

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How to safely visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree this year . Guidelines for visiting the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree have been released, including virtual queues and time limits on Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday will be closed to the public

Superstars like Diana Ross, John Legend and Tony Bennett helped make the holidays magical, performing at the 86th Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting on NBC.

The telecast used pre-recorded performances from entertainers like Kelly Clarkson and Dolly Parton, and camera shots of the streets around the tree showed them to be largely empty.

Yet, despite the city's best attempts to keep crowds away, hundreds of people were seen in the area on Wednesday evening, appearing to ignore barricades and the presence of police officers.

Several spectators even went without masks as they stopped to take photos of the iconic Christmas symbol.

They had to stand more than 50 yards away, near Saks Fifth Avenue, jammed close together in front of a metal barricade.

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People take selfies near Rockefeller Center before the tree lighting ceremony tonight. griped Jennifer Goetz, a 45- year -old from Florida who works in the medical field and said it was her first time in the Big “We always watched on TV and now we can’t even get remotely close to the tree .” “I wish the city organized this better, I’m standing in the middle of a mob, why can’t I be close to the

Here's what time the 2020 Rockefeller Tree lighting is, and where you can watch. It's the most wonderful (and lit ) time of the year , with the 75 -ft.-tall Rockefeller Center Christmas tree Even though the Center Plaza is closed to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic, locals and

'Why can't we group by the tree?,' asked Jennifer Goetz, 45, from Florida. 'We were looking forward to seeing the tree light up and watching all the performers. We always watched on TV and now we can't even get remotely close to the tree.'

'I came here for the Christmas tree lighting and to adopt a dog. I've never seen the tree lighting and it's emblematic,' he said tourist 21-year-old student Angel Caceres of Uruguay, who said he was going to leave the city feeling 'depressed'.

'I wish the city organized this better, I'm standing in the middle of a mob, why can't I be close to the tree?'

In an attempt to block the view buses were parked outside of Saks Fifth Avenue on Wednesday afternoon with the NYPD still putting up police barricades at 5pm.

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CBS2's Jessica Layton has the latest on the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting and NYPD security plans.

The tree will travel more than 107 kilometers from the village of Florida in Orange County, New York and is scheduled to be erected at Rockefeller Center Saturday. This is the 88 th tree to be put up in front of Rockefeller Center.

'This year has been a downer. It would have been amazing and nice if the tree lighting was more festive,' said Abel Fernandez to the New York Post.

'We need some type of normal to lift up our sprits…,' he said. 'We were hoping for a celebration or tree lighting.'

'This is all new to me — the mask,' said Diana Ramkissoon, 59, a New Yorker. 'I have my childhood memories coming to the tree lighting with my parents, grandparents. Now I'm here with my grandson and son.

'It would have been nice to see the performers and tree lighting,' she added. 'We have to cooperate but it's a bummer.'

In the days following the lighting until the early part of January, those wishing to take a look at the tree will have to follow a host of rules.

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The plaza where the tree is physically located will be closed to the public; instead, there will be specific tree-viewing zones on the midtown Manhattan blocks on either side.

Visitors will join a virtual line, and can get text messages to let them know when it's their turn. At that point, they will be directed to specific pods, each of which can hold four people, to look at the tree. There will be a five-minute limit to tree-viewing.

Ticketholders must be wearing masks, and will only be able to view the tree from their pod for a period of five minutes.

Entrance to the skating rink and retail will be separate.

The restricted approach is a necessary one, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this week. 'It will be limited, the number of people that can get close. This is what we got to do to protect everyone.

But questions remain about how exactly the NYPD and private security guards will manage to control crowds and enforce social distancing - especially when the tree can be clearly viewed from other busy shopping areas along Fifth Avenue, which will remain open to the public.

DailyMail.com has reached out to both the NYPD and Rockefeller real estate group Tishman Speyer to determine whether extra barricades will be installed to break up lines of ticket-holders, or whether police and privately hired guards will be in place to ensure pedestrians do not loiter to snap photos of the tree.

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a group of people walking on a city street: Confusion: One of the most iconic views of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree is along Fifth Avenue, through the Channel Gardens mall (pictured), which will remain fully open for retail access © Provided by Daily Mail Confusion: One of the most iconic views of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree is along Fifth Avenue, through the Channel Gardens mall (pictured), which will remain fully open for retail access a group of people walking on a city street: 'Makes no sense': Visitors will still be able to shop in stores such as Kate Spade (left), taking in a full view of the Rockefeller Tree as they do so. It's unclear whether additional cops and guards will be in the area along Channel Gardens to move shoppers along © Provided by Daily Mail 'Makes no sense': Visitors will still be able to shop in stores such as Kate Spade (left), taking in a full view of the Rockefeller Tree as they do so. It's unclear whether additional cops and guards will be in the area along Channel Gardens to move shoppers along

On Wednesday morning - just hours before the tree lighting was scheduled to take place - crowds were already gathering behind barricades, with police doing little to stop them. Some even went without masks.

One of the most iconic views of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree is along Fifth Avenue, through the Channel Gardens mall, which will remain fully open for retail access.

On Tuesday, the New York Post published an article decrying the new ticketing system, claiming it 'makes no sense'.

'You can see the tree from Fifth Avenue as well as 51st and 48th streets. Is the city going to cut off ­access there? If not, if any crowd does materialize, police are just going to recreate the same old setup a couple of blocks away... What is the city — or Tishman Speyer — going to do, put up a big black veil?'

Officials may be banking on the mere fact that tourists - who usually form the bulk of spectators - will not be in the city this festive season.

NYC CHRISTMAS 2020: TICKETS TO VIEW THE ROCKEFELLER TREE

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered that public access to Rockefeller Plaza be prohibited from December 3 - early January.

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Visitors who wish to view the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, which has been erected in the Plaza, must have a ticket.

There will be virtual queuing to manage lines where guests can scan a QR code to see wait times and receive a text message to know when to return to the line.

All spectators must wear masks, maintain six feet of social distance and will be limited to just five minutes to take in the spectacle.

The tree will be lit every day from 6am ET to midnight and on Christmas Day it will be lit for 24 hours.

All guests will be put in spaced out pods with no more than four people per pod.

'This is not a spectator event as it is in the past. What we do not want and can't have is large crowds of people crowding in there,' de Blasio said Monday in a conference call with reporters.

'This is what we need to do to protect everyone. It's a different approach but it's an approach that will keep people safe,' he added.

a group of people walking down a street next to tall buildings: The Christmas Tree is pictured being put into place on November 14 © Provided by Daily Mail The Christmas Tree is pictured being put into place on November 14

The Big Apple remains relatively empty amid the pandemic, and holiday festivities so far have been lackluster.

This year's 94th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade spanned just one block and was closed to the public and aired on television.

ROCKEFELLER CHRISTMAS TREE FAQs

How big is the Tree?

The 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a 75 feet tall Norway Spruce, 45 feet wide, and weighs 11 tons.

How old is the Tree?

The 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is between 75 and 80 years old.

Where is this year's tree from?

The 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree hails from Oneonta, New York.

How many lights are on the Tree?

There are more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights on approximately 5 miles (8 km) of wire

When does the Tree come down?

This is yet to be determined, but details about when the Tree will come down will be announced in the coming weeks.

Flat-back Christmas trees are the perfect solution for people who can't be bothered to decorate the entire half of a tree that nobody sees anyway

  Flat-back Christmas trees are the perfect solution for people who can't be bothered to decorate the entire half of a tree that nobody sees anyway Half Christmas trees, or flat-back trees, look like regular trees with one modification: They're flat on one side so they can rest against the wall. Wayfair/Stacie Petty Half Christmas trees, or flat-back trees, look just like a regular Christmas tree with one modification: One side is completely flat so it can rest against the wall. Reviews for the trees, which are available at Target and other retailers, praise their compact size. The cheapest options are under $100, while one of the most expensive trees currently available costs over $500. Many even come pre-lit.

Information obtained from https://www.rockefellercenter.com

Almost as soon as the broadcast began at 9am on NBC, aggrieved viewers began roasting the event on Twitter, admonishing lip-syncing performers, criticizing balloon selections, and blasting the Rockettes for forgoing their legendary kick line.

Meanwhile, residents in the city are alarmed by growing cases of COVID-19.

Once the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, the Big Apple managed to flatten the curve over the summer and early fall, only for cases to begin rising again.

In the past week, 10,061 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed across the city, with hospitalizations also increasing.

While tourists may not be arriving in the city, locals may be keen to catch a glimpse of the tree, as there has been much buzz about the spruce in recent weeks.

The tree triggered a slew of memes and jokes over its ragged and shabby appearance when it arrived to New York City on November 14. Some compared the tree to Charlie Brown's infamously sad looking tree in the Peanuts cartoons.

Last week workers sneakily filled out the tree by adding 'extensions' to its branches to make it appear more full and lush.

Additionally, social media went into meltdown after an owl was discovered roosting in the branches of the tree after it was brought into Manhattan from upstate New York.

The female owl - named 'Rockefeller', or Rocky for short -  was uninjured but had not eaten for at least three days when she was discovered and sent to Ravensbeard Wildlife Centre in the Hudson Valley town of Saugerties.

There, a rehabilitator nursed her back to health for a week with plenty of mice before Rocky was released back into the wild.

The story of the owl became so widespread that Frontier Airlines has even decided to plaster an image of the animal on the tail of one of its planes.

According to Nine News, Rocky the Owl will appear on a new A320neo aircraft from late 2021.

'We're always looking for new ideas for our plane tails and when we heard the story of Rocky, we thought it entirely befitting that this intrepid little owl be honored on one of our tails,' Frontier Airlines Vice President of Marketing Tyri Squyres told the news network.

'Each of our animal tails has a back story and Rocky's is extra-special. He will be remembered for years to come and his story enjoyed by thousands of travelers who fly on 'Rocky the Owl.'

How the Rockefeller Christmas tree has been a symbol of hope over nearly nine decades

Despite a global pandemic, the world's most famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center will illuminate New York City tonight in a tradition that has been celebrated for almost nine decades.

Through hardships, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has served as a beacon of hope and holiday cheer since its humble beginnings amid the Great Depression and on through WWII, 9/11, and Hurricane Sandy.

The storied tradition began in 1931 during the Depression-era construction of Rockefeller Center. Construction workers pooled their money to purchase a 20-foot balsam and decorated it with strings of cranberries, a few tin cans and homemade paper garlands made by their families.

It was a display of optimism as workers lined up beside the tree on Christmas Eve to receive their wages while the country was grappling with poverty during the Great Depression. It was in that exact place - one year later - that Charles Ebbets snapped the iconic picture of Rockefeller construction workers pausing to eat lunch with their legs dangling on a suspended beam high above New York City. The photograph became emblematic of American life, much like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has come to symbolize hope for the holidays.

Two years later in 1933, the opulent new tower at Rockefeller Center (then called the RCA Building) was completed and the company decided to make the Christmas tree an annual tradition with the first official lighting ceremony of a 40-foot evergreen that was strung up with 700 lights. In 1936, they erected two trees to celebrate the opening of the skating rink and also held an ice skating pageant.

By 1950, the decorating process called for 20 full-time workers, nine days and extensive scaffolding. 1951 marked the first year that NBC televised the tree lighting ceremony on 'The Kate Smith Show.'

Since then, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree draws about 750,000 visitors a day, and an estimated 125 million people per year during the few weeks that it's on display.

The tree is usually a Norwegian Spruce and must meet the desired dimensions of 65-feet tall and 35-feet wide; narrow streets surrounding Rockefeller Center limit the height. 'You shouldn't be able to see the sky through it,' said Head Gardener Erik Pauzé.

Typically the trees stand around 75-feet tall but they broke the record in 1999 with the largest evergreen to ever grace 30 Rock Plaza at a towering 100-feet tall.

Read more

Flat-back Christmas trees are the perfect solution for people who can't be bothered to decorate the entire half of a tree that nobody sees anyway .
Half Christmas trees, or flat-back trees, look like regular trees with one modification: They're flat on one side so they can rest against the wall. Wayfair/Stacie Petty Half Christmas trees, or flat-back trees, look just like a regular Christmas tree with one modification: One side is completely flat so it can rest against the wall. Reviews for the trees, which are available at Target and other retailers, praise their compact size. The cheapest options are under $100, while one of the most expensive trees currently available costs over $500. Many even come pre-lit.

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