Massive tree arrives for its NYC debut

November 14, 2008 4:49:54 PM PST
An 8-ton, 72-foot-tall Norway spruce was hoisted into place Friday in Rockefeller Center, where it will be dressed up for its starring role as the city's most famous Christmas tree. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Hundreds of onlookers gawked as a crane raised the tree, a metal spike sticking from its trunk, on the Rockefeller Center plaza.

The tree came from the Varanyak family in Hamilton, N.J. The family used it as their own Christmas tree in 1931, then planted it outdoors. Mary Varanyak, who died eight years ago, had predicted it would make it to Rockefeller Center one day.

It will be decorated with thousands of colored lights and topped with a massive crystal star. The televised lighting ceremony will be Dec. 3.

While the first official lighting was in 1933, the first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was put up two years earlier by workers building the complex during the Depression.

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