Tens of thousands of people have flocked to watch the Rockefeller Center’stree lights get switched on in the biggest gathering on the streets of since COVID hit.
City officials said Wednesday’s switch-on attracted one of the largest crowd’s in the Big Apple since the virus first hit US shores nearly two years ago.
This year’s ceremony open to all-comers, in marked contrast to 2020, when space was strictly limited, and buses were used to blockof the tree to try and stop people crowding together to look at it.
NYPD officials did warn that the tree and its environs were closed at one stage of the evening, although this was just due to regular crowd control issues. The tree sits in a relatively tight space, and measures were deployed to stop onlookers from being crushed.
Stars including Harry Connick Jr, Rob Thomas and Norah Jones performed. Meanwhile, the hosts of NBC’s Today – which tapes just a few feet away from the tree – were chosen to switch its lights on. Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Hoda Kotb and Craig Melvin joined outgoing NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for the moment of illumination.
Due to the anticipated rush of spectators, Mayor Bill de Blasio, the NYPD and the Department of Transportation had announced that pedestrian space will be temporarily extended onto the streets around Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center,reported.
Meanwhile, officials urged people to use public transportation in an effort to reduce car traffic in the otherwise busy Manhattan district surrounding Rockefeller Center.
There were no mask or vaccination requirements this year due to the tree lighting being an outdoor event, a Rockefeller Center spokesperson told CNN Travel.
Pictured: Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rob Speyer, Craig Melvin, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker Light the Tree during the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
The NBC stars film Today just a few feet away from where the tree stands
This year’s Christmas tree, pictured, an 85-year-old Norway Spruce, arrived in New York city on November 13 after making the 140-mile trek from Elkton, Maryland
NYPD police vehicles block the view of the Christmas tree lights after they are turned on for the first time at the 89th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on Wednesday
Tens of thousands gathered to watch the annual spectacle at Rockefeller Plaza
The 2021 switch on, pictured, did not have any COVID restrictions, although police did have to temporarily close off the surrounding streets for crowd control
This year’s tree, pictured, stands 79 feet tall and weighs nearly 12 tons
Last year, public shows were closed to the public with the exception of short viewing times with only small groups of people at scheduled appointment times during the height of the pandemic.
Wednesday’s ceremony was the first to be fully open to the public since 2019.
The tree, an 85-year-old Norway Spruce, arrived in New York city on November 13 after making the 140-mile trek from Elkton, Maryland, according to the.
Last year’s Christmas tree received an onslaught of criticism on social media, with users pointing on the tree’s underwhelming and scraggly appearance, while some commented that last year’s tree was representative of an overall bad year.
This year’s tree stands 79 feet tall and weighs nearly 12 tons, the Times reported, which was wrapped in over 50,000 multicolored LED lights and affixed with a three-dimensional Swarovski crystal star weighing nearly 900 pounds.
Wednesday’s tree, which was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, also featured 70 spikes covered in three million Swarovski crystals.
Pictured: the Radio City Rockettes performing at the tree lighting festivities on Wednesday night
Pictured: this year’s tree before the 50,000 multicolored LED lights were wrapped around it for Wednesday’s lighting ceremony
This year’s Christmas tree was affixed with a three-dimensional star, pictured, weighing nearly 900 pounds
Thousands of people turned out for the 89th annual tree lighting ceremony in Midtown Manhattan.
NBC had the likes of Rob Thomas, Carrie Underwood, Alessia Cara, Brad Paisley, Harry Connick Jr., Mickey Guyton, Norah Jones, and the Radio City Rockettes performing at the festivities on Wednesday.
Also performing at the event was the Broadway cast of ‘Come From Away.’
Meanwhile, the ceremony drew the likes of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rob Speyer, Craig Melvin, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker Light the Tree during the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
‘Today’ co-anchors Guthrie, Kotb, Roker and Melvin hosted the event.
For those who missed Wednesday’s ceremony, the tree will be lit every day from 6 am until midnight, until Christmas Day when the tree will remain lit for 24 hours.
Then on New Year’s Eve, the tree will be lit from 6 am to 9 pm, with no date set as of yet for when the tree will be taken down.
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