What to Know
- NBC Connecticut will broadcast “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” from 7 to 9 p.m.
- Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, and Hoda Kotb will co-host the broadcast
- The tree will be lit every day from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. until Jan. 7., except for Christmas Day, when it will be lit around the clock
The Rockefeller Center tree is set to be illuminated Wednesday in a festive ceremony, but spectators should expect some security restrictions, be aware of street closures and prepare for possible rain.
NBC Connecticut will broadcast “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” from 7 to 9 p.m.
Crowds are expected to form in the early afternoon and police say drivers should expect heavy traffic and avoid the vicinity of Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Police also say the following roads will be subject to closures from 3 p.m. until after the lighting ceremony: 48th, 49th, 50th, and 51st streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues.
Spectators are urged to use mass transit to attend the event. Umbrellas, backpacks and large bags are prohibited, police said.
The tree will be lit every day from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. until Jan. 7., except for Christmas Day, when it will be lit around the clock for 24 hours.
Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, and Hoda Kotb will co-host the broadcast, and there will be live performances from Neil Diamond, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Kelly and the Radio City Rockettes. Additional performances are expected from Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Dolly Parton, Tony Bennett, Josh Groban and Jordan Smith.
The 83rd annual holiday celebration will feature a 94-foot tall Norway spruce from Oneonta. The spruce is between 90 and 95 years old and weighs 14 tons. Approximately 50,000 lights on 5 miles of wire will adorn the tree and the Swarovski Star that sits atop the tree features energy-efficient LED bulbs.
After the tree is taken down, it will be milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.
Here are some historical facts about the Rockefeller Center Tree:
• 1931 – Construction workers building Rockefeller Center put up a Christmas tree, the first-ever Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
• 1933 - First formal Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony. The tree was decked with 700 lights in front of the eight-month-old RCA Building.
• 1936 - Two trees, each 70 feet (21.3 m) tall, were erected. For the first time the Lighting Ceremony included a skating pageant on the newly opened Rockefeller Plaza Outdoor Ice Skating Pond.
• 1942 - Three trees were placed on Rockefeller Plaza, one decorated in red, one in white and one in blue to show support for our troops serving during World War II.
• 1949 - The tree was painted silver, to look like snow.
• 1951 – The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was lit for the first time on national television on the Kate Smith Show.
• 1966 - The first tree from outside the United States was erected. It was given by Canada, in honor of the Centennial of its Confederation. This is the farthest distance a tree has traveled to Rockefeller Center.
• 1980 - For the 50th Anniversary of Tree Lighting, a 70 foot-tall (21.3 m) Norway Spruce came from the grounds of the Immaculate Conception Seminary of Mahwah, N.J. Bob Hope participated in the Lighting.
• 1999 – The largest tree in Rockefeller Center history, 100 feet tall (30.5 m), came from Killingworth, Conn.
• 2004 – The Swarovski-designed star became the largest star to ever grace the tree.
• 2007 – For the first time, the tree was lit with energy-efficient LEDs. They draw a fraction of the power that had been traditionally required by the tree, reducing energy consumption from 3,510 kwH to 1,297 kwH per day, saving as much energy as a single family would use in a month in a 2,000 square foot (185.8 m²) home. Hundreds of solar panels atop one of the Rockefeller Center buildings help power the new LEDs.