Scenic USA - New York

Rockefeller Center

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Rockefeller Center Christmas tree - New York City, New York

Photo by Steve Wierszalowski

     Saddled with economical uncertainties of the Great Depression, John D. Rockefeller continued with the Rockefeller Center construction project without the help from investment groups. Initially wishing for a building to house the Metropolitan Opera, Rockefeller ended up with a massive complex of Art Deco styled buildings which cover 22 acres of downtown Manhattan. Construction began in 1930, erecting a group of Rockefeller Plaza buildings that would mark the largest privately funded construction project undertaken in modern times.
     Shortly after Thanksgiving, the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is raised in the heart of Manhattan. The annual lighting ceremony has turned into a star-studded production, attracting thousands of guests. The first tree was raised in 1931 by construction crews, with an official tree beginning in 1933. The typical tree is a Norway spruce, ranging from 65 to 100 feet tall. The majority of trees are residential ornamental trees, donated without compensation. The sparkle takes over five miles of lights, all topped off with the 550 pound Swarovski star.

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