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Thread: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

  1. #1

    Default Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree,3653902.story

    It's Lights For Rockefeller Tree

    By Michael J. Woods and Pete Bowles
    Staff Writers

    December 4, 2002

    With a flip of a switch, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree came to life Wednesday night as 30,000 multicolored lights sparkled on five miles of wire, kicking off New York's holiday season.

    Braving a bitter cold, an estimated 200,000 people huddled together as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, center co-owner Jerry Speyer, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Santa Claus pushed the button at 8:57 p.m., lighting up the 76-foot-tall, 43-foot-wide, 75-year-old Norway spruce. The tree will be on display until Jan. 7.

    "This starts off the holiday,” said Edward Dalton, 30, a masseur from Flushing who showed up at 8 a.m. so he could get a spot down front at the 70th annual tree-lighting ceremony in the famed plaza.

    Before the pageant began at 7 p.m., Dalton said he was there to "to watch all the excitement and the Rockettes.”

    Dalton was not disappointed. The high-kicking dancers were among a host of celebrities who performed during the nationally-televised spectacle, including Sheryl Crow, Michelle Branch, Barry Manilow, the cast of "Hairspray” and dancers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

    The frigid weather did not cool the excitement for Heather George, 19, and two of her fellow freshmen from Wagner College on Staten Island. "We have been planning this for a month,” George said. "It's not too bad. I just can't feel my toes.”

    The ceremony, as are many public events these days, was conducted under heightened security. Police officers with machine guns were noticeable among the crowd.

    Asked if she had any fear about being there, Darby Biggart, 18, of Crownsville, Md., said: "My mother is scared for me. But I'm not scared. An attack would be too predictable.”

    Annie David, 65, of Port Washington, a retired nurse, said it was her first Rockefeller Center tree-lighting. Asked why she came this year, she said: "I'm retired -- I have the time now. The lighting of the tree says Christmas is here.”

    Half a block away, on West 50th Street, spectators could not see the tree because of the building but were able to view the show on a jumbo screen. "I'm a little depressed; I can't see anything,” said Andrianna Prast, 10, of Wallingford, Conn.

    But she and her mother, Lynelle Prast, 36, said the trip was worth the effort because they got to see Sheryl Crow practicing in the wings.

    As the revelers cheered, Crow sang John Lennon's song, "Happy Xmas (War is Over),” touching on a somber topic many are thinking about this year.

    In the meantime, in yet another of its opportunistic polls, Quinnipiac University reported yesterday that a visit to the Rockefeller Center tree is a top holiday tradition for New Yorkers.

    "When those tree lights twinkle in the night sky, everyone knows Christmas has come to New York,” said polling director Maurice Carroll.

    Copyright © 2002, Newsday, Inc.

  2. #2

    Default It's Lights For Rockefeller Tree

    The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree came to life Wednesday night, 4 December 2002, kicking off New York's holiday season.

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Marc Torsilieri, 48, Provider of Annual Christmas Tree, Is Dead

    Marc Torsilieri in November 2003, helping
    to lower the 550-pound star onto that year’s
    Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

    March 17, 2007

    Marc Torsilieri, who looked like a ginger-bearded lumberjack and played the part in splendid fashion by annually felling the Christmas tree for Rockefeller Center, died on March 12 in Somerville, N.J. He was 48, a little over half the age of most of the Norway spruces he helped find, transport, decorate and remove.

    The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Susan.

    Mr. Torsilieri belonged to a clan of experts in moving big trees, when not attending to other aspects of their landscape business in Gladstone, N.J. For almost a generation, they teamed up with Rockefeller Center experts to conduct what may be the world’s most distinctive arboreal talent search.

    The result of the annual search is a statuesque evergreen, usually exceeding 80 feet in height, weighing around eight tons and spreading 40 or more feet wide when fluffed out. Each year’s tree is festooned with 30,000 lights on five miles of wire, with a star on top that is 9.5 feet in diameter and weighs 550 pounds.

    The tree rises majestically over the golden statue of Prometheus, happy ice skaters and more than 10 million visitors over the holiday season.

    The tradition began humbly in 1931 when construction workers put up a small tree; it gained steam in 1933 when formal tree-lighting began, then grew inexorably into today’s televised extravaganza.

    Mr. Torsilieri and his brothers Guy and Dean ran the landscaping firm, Torsilieri Inc., that their father, Carl, began in 1968. They developed a reputation for sensitivity in moving trees and were approached by Rockefeller Center to handle its annual centerpiece, almost always a Norway spruce because of the brisk growth of that species.

    “They move 85-foot trees like they’re delicate little china teapots,” David Murbach, the center’s chief gardener, said in an interview with The New York Times in 1993.

    Marc Torsilieri stood 5-foot-11 and weighed 240 pounds, but the 1993 article said he could “climb to the top of a giant Norway spruce with the grace of a gymnast to tie up every tender little branch that would otherwise be snapped off during the trip to Manhattan.”

    Marc Torsilieri worked side by side with his 15 or more laborers. They delicately folded the branches inward so they would not break during the ride. The upper branches were flexible enough, but hingelike devices had to be made for the lower branches to make them bendable.

    They then used a specially constructed crane to place the tree in a tractor-trailer, originally designed to carry bridge girders. Its length telescopes to 100 feet, and it is used only once a year, for the big tree. A police escort accompanies it to Manhattan.

    But finding a tree comes first. Strangers’ tips are many, but seldom work out.
    The search begins in late fall when evergreens stand out like jewels among bare deciduous trees. Then, Mr. Torsilieri told The Times, “I’ll mark which areas have lots of trees, and then we’ll go back and comb them with a car.”

    After identifying a potential prize, they had to find the owner, a process involving knocking on the door, then leaving a card if necessary, and finally, sending a nice letter with a self-addressed envelope.

    Incentives for the owner include a small payment, some free landscaping (often including a new seedling) and a chance to get rid of an aged tree that has outgrown the yard. Specimens are usually found in the Northeast, but have come from as far away as Ohio and Canada.

    Expectations have grown. “When we first started doing this, the trees were 60-footers,” Mr. Torsilieri said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 1996. “They just kind of kept creeping up in size. I’m not quite sure how it got that way.”

    Marc Frank Torsilieri was born in Morristown, N.J., on July 28, 1958, and graduated from Delhi College of Technology in 1978 with a degree in horticulture. He lived in Three Bridges, N.J., and moonlighted as a mover of large sculptures for museums.

    In addition to his wife, the former Susan Fehrenback, Mr. Torsilieri is survived by two daughters, Liza and Phoebe; a son, Samuel; his parents, Carl and Lois; a sister, Carla J. D’Agostino of Marin County, Calif.; and his brothers, Guy, of White House Station, N.J., and Dean, of East Amwell, N.J.

    He liked telling Christmas tree stories, including one about a woman who rushed out in tears after hers was cut down. They turned out to be tears of joy: she had long thought her bathroom was hopelessly infected by mold, but it turned out that its sickly green color was from the tree’s shadow.

    Once, with television cameras waiting in Rockefeller Center, the tractor-trailer got stuck in the mud in a Pennsylvania field, and the tree was a day late.

    “That year is forever etched in my mind: 1985,” Mr. Torsilieri said.

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  5. #5
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    November 20, 2007

    Rock Center Tree Lights Go `green'

    (AP) The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is going "greener" _ with energy-saving lights replacing old-fashioned bulbs on the towering evergreen this year.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he hoped the change to the midtown Manhattan display will inspire the tens of millions of New Yorkers and tourists who see the tree every year.

    "Now they will see an example of green leadership which may inspire them to make greener choices in their own lives," Bloomberg said Tuesday.

    The 84-foot-tall Norway spruce will be covered with 30,000 multicolored light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, strung on five miles of wire.

    Using the energy-efficient LEDs to replace incandescent bulbs will reduce the display's 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-square-foot house in a month.

    The owners of Rockefeller Center, Tishman Speyer, also showed off a new 365-panel solar energy array that will generate electricity on the roof of one of the complex's buildings, the largest privately owned solar roof in Manhattan.

    After the official tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 28, the Christmas tree will be illuminated from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. most days through the first week of January.

    The Rockefeller Center tradition was started in 1931, when construction workers building the first part of the office building complex erected a 20-foot Balsam fir amid the site's mud and rubble.

    After the tree is taken down in January, it will be cut into lumber to be used in houses built by Habitat for Humanity.

  6. #6


    I visited Top of the Rock again recently and snapped this pic of workers installing the solar panel array on 45 Rockefeller Plaza, the International Building (I think it also goes by 630 Fifth Avenue).

    More on the rooftop, excerpted from this press release from 11/20:

    The solar roof atop 45 Rockefeller Plaza will keep 67,392 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere each year and more than 2 million pounds over its 30-year lifespan, according to a release from the Mayor’s Office. The panels will create a 70-kilowatt DC generation station tied to the Rockefeller Center grid. The solar-powered energy will help reduce peak electrical demand, particularly during the summer.

    The new ice making and storage plant is being installed this month and will consist of 47 11-foot water tanks. Ice will be created overnight when energy demand is lower. During the day water used for air conditioning will be redirected through the ice in an energy-efficient cooling system. Tishman Speyer will power the plant with energy purchased from wind-generated facilities.
    The tree lighting is on Wednesday 11/28, ceremonies start at 7pm. I was able to get a nice vantage point two years ago by lingering in Sak's Fifth Ave as they closed...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7
    Senior Member NewYorkDoc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Brooklyn, New York


    The green lights are great, but the wood being used for Habitat is wonderful!

  8. #8


    New York Times
    November 29, 2007


    Lighting the Rockefeller Center Tree

    The 84-foot-tall Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City was lit on Wednesday night.

    A man swept the stage before the start of the ceremony.

    Onlookers gazed out of nearby windows to see the tree-lighting ceremony.

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Radio City Rockettes lit the tree.

    Crowds started gathering early in the day in order to get a good view of the festivities.

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  9. #9

    Default Barry Manilow at Rockefeller Center

    If you missed your chance to see Barry Manilow at the tree lighting, or simply didn't get enough, he's still in the area. December 9th in Uniondale, NY and December 10th in East Rutherford, NJ!
    Last edited by BrooklynRider; December 2nd, 2007 at 12:58 AM.

  10. #10
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    East Midtown


    My next door neighbor has pictures of Barry Manilow and Aquaman on the outside of his apartment door. Strange.

  11. #11


    Does the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree still go up on December 4th? Just wondering because I may be back in the city during Christmas.

  12. #12


    The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on December 3rd. This date is subject to change.

    Call 212-632-3975 for up to date information.

  13. #13


    Quote Originally Posted by scumonkey View Post
    The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on December 3rd. This date is subject to change.

    Call 212-632-3975 for up to date information.
    I missed the NBC Christmas Special at Rockefeller Center. I'll watch it next year.

  14. #14

  15. #15


    ^ That has to be one of the greatest photos I've ever seen of Rockefeller Center.

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