For more than eighty years, the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has loomed large in the minds of New York holidaymakers.
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It towers in the horizon, enthralling visitors who take a bite of historical inspiration from the sights and sounds that surround them during the season.
This year, the tree will go up again. It will light up the vicinity and an untold number of hearts. But first, here’s everything you need to know about the historic Rockefeller Tree Lighting.
How to Attend the Rockefeller Tree Lighting Event in 2022
When Does the Rockefeller Tree Go Up?
Beginning December 1, 2022, the tree will be lit every day from 6.00 am to 12.00 am. On Christmas Day, the Tree is lit all day long. While on New Year’s Eve (December 31), it’s from 6.00 am to 9.00 pm.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be open to the public 24 hours every day of the week.
Getting to the Rockefeller Tree Lighting 2022
The tree stands smack in the center of the Rockefeller campus wedged between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
There are a few spots where you can take that perfect shot for tangible evidence that you experienced an irreplaceable moment in history.
Google maps offer the best direction for navigating to the tree, no matter where you’re coming from. The two main ways to reach the Rockefeller Center complex are by bus or the subway.
- Take one of four trains – B, D, F, and M — to the 47-50thStreet Rockefeller Center stop.
- Take 1 Train to the 50thStreet stop. Then you walk along the same street in the direction of the traffic to the Rockefeller Center between 5th Avenue and 6th
- Take any of N, Q, R trains to the 49thStreet stop. Walk along 49th Street facing oncoming traffic to Rockefeller Center between 5th and 6th
- Take the E or M train to the 5thAvenue or 53rd Street stop and head south on 5th Avenue in the direction of cars.
- Take 6 Train to the 51 Street Station. Keep walking in the direction of cars and reach 5thAvenue before making a left turn onto 5th Rockefeller Center is only one block down.
If buses are your cup of tea, there’s really just one way to go:
- Take any of these buses to: M1, M2, M3, M4, and M5, to 50th Buses travel north and south.
Where to Watch the Rockefeller Tree Lighting
A crowd of thousands are expected to show up and witness the festivities of the Rockefeller Center Tree lighting ceremony.
The lighting ritual is usually done by the Mayor of New York City. This year, he’ll be flicking on 50,000 lights adorning the giant Norway spruce.
However, you can still follow the action wherever you are in the country. The Tree Lighting ceremony is broadcast every year on the NBC television network.
The main event starts at 8.00 pm ET on NBC during the Christmas in Rockefeller Center special. Your local NBC channel will air it, otherwise, you can use the network’s Peacock streaming service.
What if you’re nowhere near home or don’t have cable? Thankfully, you can stream the Rockefeller Tree Lighting on services such as Sling TV and fuboTV. They include NBC and offer free trials. Other streaming options include YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV.
History of the Rockefeller Tree
The birth of a timeless tradition
How can a Christmas tree, no matter its size, be the object of visitor admiration for such a long time in modern history? Turns out that in December 1931, workers at Rockefeller Center each put in their widow’s mite to buy a Christmas tree.
Those noble men went further to decorate the 20-foot-high balsam fir using garlands their families had made painstakingly.
By December 1933, the Rockefeller Center took the defining step of keeping the Christmas tree as a yearly tradition. That year also marked the first tree lighting ceremony.
Three short years later, the Center played host to two trees. It included a skating pageant, thrilling attendees at the just opened ice skating rink. This side attraction would be the first of many more over several decades.
The tree lighting ceremony becomes grander
By December 2004, the top of the Tree sported a 550-pound Swarovski Star. At first, it was 9.5 feet across and had 25,000 crystals and a million facets. In 2005, LED lights helped the star “radiate” light from the center to the tips.
Famous architect Daniel Libeskind’s Swarovski Star debuted in December 2018. It had a 9-foot 4-inch topper with an array of LEDs giving its backlight. Libeskind’s Star features 3 million sparkling crystals across 70 triangular spikes.
The decorations, lights, and stars have evolved over the decades. But the enchanting New York experience continues to thrill visitors, old and young.
The Rockefeller Plaza Online and Offline
Phone: +1 212-588-8601, +1 877-NYC-ROCK
Plus Code: Q25C+FG New York, USA
Official Website: https://www.rockefellercenter.com
Ticket Reservations: https://www.rockefellercenter.com/buy-tickets
How big will this year’s tree be?
The 2022 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will certainly be as big as it gets. Last year’s tree was a 79 feet tall, 46 feet wide Norway Spruce weighing 12 tons.
What type of tree will this year’s tree be?
The tradition at the Center is to use an advanced Norway Spruce that’s no less than 75 feet tall and 45 feet wide. People are welcome to submit their Norway Spruce for consideration.
When will the Tree arrive in New York?
There is no specific date for the arrival of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Depending on where it’s coming from, the Tree will arrive by sea or air.
Logistical considerations will determine the arrival date and the best means to transport the Tree to have it intact until it’s in New York.
When does the Rockefeller Christmas Tree come down?
The Tree usually comes down sometime in early- or mid-January. The organizers determine when exactly this happens.