The lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center returns on Wednesday to commence a 90-year tradition in Midtown Manhattan.
The tree, an 82-foot-tall, 50-foot-wide Norway spruce, arrived in New York City on Nov. 12 after making a 200-mile trek from Queensbury in upstate New York. On Wednesday night, a 900-pound star with three million Swarovski crystals will be placed on the spruce’s top and over 50,000 multicolored LED lights will flash on for the first time.
Here’s what you should know about the festivities.
When is the Rockefeller Center tree lighting?
The lighting of the Christmas tree will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 30, and will air live as part of the NBC special “Christmas in Rockefeller Center.”
The two-hour telecast, which starts at 8 p.m. Eastern time, will be hosted by the “Today” show anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Craig Melvin, as well as Mario Lopez of “Access Hollywood.”
How can I watch the tree lighting ceremony?
The public will have access to the lighting ceremony, but because of expected inclement weather, organizers are encouraging that people watch remotely. Those who do want to watch in person should head to 49th Street or 50th Street at 5th Avenue, where the tree will be visible.
Those who would rather watch at home can catch the special on NBC or its streaming platform, Peacock.
If you don’t have cable, you can watch the event on streaming platforms such as Sling TV or Fubo TV, both of which include NBC.
Who is performing at the event?
In past years, there have been live performances by famous singers and the Radio City Rockettes.
This year is no different. The Rockettes will hit the stage along with other big-name performers, including Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton and Andrea Bocelli.
The comedians Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph will also make an appearance.
What is there to know about this year’s tree?
The tree, an 85- to 90-year-old Norway spruce, stands 82 feet tall and weighs nearly 14 tons — that’s three feet taller and two tons heavier than last year’s Christmas tree, which hailed from Maryland. This year’s tree is from Queensbury, N.Y.
Crews have worked nonstop to wrap the tree in more than 50,000 multicolored LED lights. At massive three-dimensional star designed by the architect Daniel Libeskind will sit on top. The star weighs roughly 900 pounds and features 70 spikes covered in three million Swarovski crystals.
How can I visit in person?
After Wednesday’s lighting ceremony, the tree will be lit daily and open to the public from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. The tree will be lit for 24 hours on Christmas Day, and on New Year’s Eve from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
When the tree is taken down, on a date yet to be determined, it will be milled for lumber and donated to Habitat for Humanity International.
What streets will be closed?
New York City officials have announced some street and lane closures to increase pedestrian space around Rockefeller Center as foot traffic picks up during the holiday season.
Starting on Wednesday, both 49th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and 50th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues will be closed to all car traffic from 11 a.m. to midnight each day.
Two lanes of traffic will be eliminated on Fifth Avenue between 48th and 52nd Streets, and no turns onto 47th, 49th or 51st Street will be allowed.
One lane of traffic will be closed on Sixth Avenue between 48th and 52nd Streets.