Rockefeller Center tree lighting holds special meaning
NEW YORK (NBC) -- Late Wednesday thousands will gather in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center for the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree.
The annual spectacle has become a world famous symbol of the holidays.
This tree came from Flanders, New Jersey- after surviving the strong winds of Hurricane Sandy.
Now it will light up the sky from Rockefeller Center- symbolizing the tenacity of those still recovering from the storm.
Hoisted into place at Rockefeller Center this 80 foot tall Norway spruce is more than a Christmas tree.
Just weeks ago it came from Flanders, New Jersey, cut down after surviving Superstorm Sandy.
"It's great that after all the devastation we've been through we can have a joyous occasion in our community,” said Joann Conahan of Mt. Olive, New Jersey.
Onlookers like Conahan came to watch as crews removed the roughly 50 year old tree from Joe Balku's yard.
"I love the tree but I love to see it go so it's two different ideals,” said Balku.
Sandy left Balku with no power and knocked down two other trees in his yard but this spruce stood tall.
Now it’s been decorated in more than 30,000 lights, and topped with a Swarvoski crystal star.
Balku's tree will twinkle for weeks in Manhattan.
“It’s amazing that everyone can pull together so quickly,” said Conahan.
A symbol of strength, offering joy and hope to the thousands who visit Rockefeller Center.
NBC will air the 80th annual tree lighting ceremony live Wednesday staring at 8pm.
The show will feature special performances from artists such as Trace Atkins, Mariah Carey and Cee-Lo Green.