ALBANY (TNS) — For the first time ever, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is coming from Maryland, while residents of the Empire State won’t be able to brag that it was grown and cut down from their backyard.
This year, the 79-foot tall, 46-foot wide, 12-ton Norway spruce will travel around 2 1/2 hours from Elkton, Maryland, to Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan. The tree will be cut down on Thursday and will arrive in New York City on Nov. 13, where it will then be decorated with more than 50,000 multi-colored lights and crowned with a Swarovski star.
The world-famous Christmas tree, an annual New York City tradition since 1931, will be lit before the public on Wednesday, Dec. 1 and will remain on display at Rockefeller Center throughout the holiday season until Sunday, Jan. 16.
Traditionally, the trees selected for this midtown spotlight are Norway spruces and are in the later years of life (this year’s tree is approximately 85 years old). Trees must also measure at least 75 feet tall and 45 feet in diameter to be considered.
While there are no criteria that the tree must be cut down within New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Pennsylvania, this geographic area has been the heavy favorite over the years. The last time the selected tree came from a state other than these four was in 1998, when it came from Ohio. The last time before that was in 1977 when it came from Maine.
Was our region hoping to supply a tree this year to make a comeback after last year’s meme-worthy tree from Oneonta, which was called “sad” and looked uneven before its highly decorated glow-up? Perhaps.
”Being a New York State tree farmer, we are firm believers of New York grown,” said F.J. Spinelli, who owns Airfield Farms in Newburgh with his wife Kat. “We are in New York, let’s support New York. It’s kind of disappointing hearing it’s coming from Maryland.”
Gene Knudsen, president of Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, said that while the trees understandably come from someone’s backyard versus a tree farm due to the need for an older tree, he believes those who sourced the tree could have found one right here in New York that fit the bill.
”Whenever something comes from New York, it’s a point of pride,” said Knudsen.