Homeowners Give 2018 Rock Center Tree Last Hug Before Chop
The 72-foot tall, 12-ton Norway Spruce that will be the 2018 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was cut down from its home in upstate New York Thursday and will head to the city for its new home in the Plaza.
The tree, which is 45-feet in diameter, comes from the Wallkill home of Shirley Figueroa and Lissette Gutierrez, who gave the spruce a last hug before it was chopped down.
Crews then hoisted the tree on a flatbed to make its roughly 75-mile journey to midtown Manhattan, where it is expected to arrive on Saturday.
“After we bought the house, the previous owner told us, ‘Hey, by the way, the tree in the yard? Rockefeller Center has been scouting it,” Figueroa told News 4. “When she told me that, I was like, ‘Oh, that would be cool,’ but I [didn’t] believe it. Until they came knocking on the door.”
About 50,000 LED lights and a new Swarovski crystal star designed by Daniel Libeskind will adorn the tree, which will be lit on Nov. 28.
It will remain on display until Jan. 7.
Last year’s tree, also a Norway Spruce, came from State College, Pennsylvania.
The first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was put up in 1931 by workers building the complex during the Great Depression. The first official tree lighting there was in 1933.
Figueroa and Gutierrez said they plan to replace the tree with new ones.
“I believe if you take something down, you gotta put something back, so we’re definitely going to plant… a few more trees, because she took up a lot of space,” Figueroa said.
While the two homeowners said it was difficult to part with the tree, both were excited to see it in all its glory at Rockefeller Center.
“It’s been a little tougher for me,” Gutierrez said. “But it’s for a great cause — and everybody’s going to see it,” she said, noting that the tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity and used for home-building lumber after the Christmas season.
“I grew up going to Rockefeller Center every year, and I’ve only missed a few years that I couldn’t get down because of work,” Figueroa added.
“It’s going to be really amazing to be down there and know that the tree came from our yard.”
Photo Credit: News 4