80-Foot Christmas Tree Makes A Home In New York's Rockefeller Center

Category: Society / Nov 14, 2012 5:06PM EDT
An 80-foot (24.38 meter) Norway Spruce Christmas tree was hoisted by crane in New York's Rockefeller Center on Wednesday (November 14), helping to usher in the holiday season for city residents and tourists alike. The tree, which weighs approximately 10 tons (9071 kilograms), was donated by Joseph Balku of Flanders, New Jersey. Balku, who immigrated to the United States from Hungary in 1956, helped drive the spike into the base of the tree before it was hoisted up. "I was very happy and sad because now I'm going to loose the tree but in the meantime I'm going to come in here where it's great, where everybody can see it, everybody can enjoy it because it's a beautiful tree. It's nice and tall and it's very large, so it's something for people to see in a city and all over the world," said Balku. Many onlookers braved the cold weather for hours to witness the tree raising. One couple, newlyweds on vacation from Nottingham, England, said it was so far the highlight of their honeymoon. "We heard someone say earlier that obviously with Hurricane Sandy it should have been here a couple of weeks ago. So obviously the fact that we were lucky enough to be here to see it I think is just, it's amazing. So it really just does feel like everything is coming together," said Dan Smith, to which his wife Rachael added, "Highlight of the honeymoon really." The installation of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been an annual event since 1933 soon after the complex was built. This year's tree is not the largest, that honor goes to a 100-foot (30.48 meter) spruce in 1999. In the coming weeks the tree will be decorated with 30,000 LED lights and then topped off with a Swarovski Star in time for the annual lighting ceremony that will take place on November 28th.