The 80th Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, a Norway spruce from Joseph Balku of Flanders, New Jersey, will be lit with 45,000 lights on November 28. Along with Saks Fifth Avenue’s holiday windows and the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular just blocks away, the Rockefeller Center tree is a staple of New York City’s holiday.
Visitors come to see the tree year after year for “the grandeur of it,” says Kristin Singleton, a New York City tour guide, who was about to embark on a tour for a group of high school marching band students who will march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Normally, the tree’s original owner gets a stipend, in addition to the honor of having his or her tree in Rockefeller Center, but this year Balku gave the money to charity. “I think he gave the money to the relief of Sandy,” said Singleton.
Rockefeller Center was full of people ice- skating and taking pictures of the tree, which is encased in scaffolding. One of the many visitors was Leani Widerberg from Sweden. It was her first time in New York, and so, her first time seeing the Christmas tree. “We have trees like this in Sweden,” she said, “but the buildings aren’t so tall.”