The annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting takes place tonight, December 4, at 9 p.m. EST. NBC’s national coverage will begin at 8 p.m. EST and can be viewed on the station’s TV channel, online at NBC Liv,e or through the network’s mobile app. The broadcast is expected to run until 10 p.m. EST, with the tree lighting occurring around 9 p.m.
This year’s Norway Spruce stands at 77 feet tall, weighs 14 tons, and was planted in 1959, making it approximately 60 years old. According to NBC New York, the tree was only 4 feet tall when it was first planted. The tree is 46 feet in diameter today, and will be the 88th tree to grace Rockefeller Center this holiday season.
Here’s what you need to know about the 2019 Rockefeller Christmas Tree:
The Norway Spruce Sat on a Coffee Table in 1959 & is Now 77 Feet Tall
The Norway Spruce was originally planted at the home of Carol Schultz in New York’s Orange County community of Florida. Schultz told NBC New York that she initially had the plant inside her home on a coffee table but later planted it outside.
“I said, ‘Oh I don’t think it’s gonna take.’ You know how things happen, but it turned out to be a magnificent tree. It’s so beautiful, shaped perfect and I’m happy to share it with everybody,” Schultz told the news outlet.
The tree was cut down in early November, and will remain lit and on display on the plaza between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues, according to the Rockefeller Center website. For those who want to visit the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, visiting hours are daily from 6 a.m. until midnight through Friday, January 17, 2020. However, hours will be limited on New Year’s Eve, with visiting hours shortened to 9 p.m. instead of midnight.
There Will be Several Musical Performances Throughout the Night & Many New York Streets Will be Shut Down
Hosted by Today anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Al Roker, the broadcast will include 12 musical performances from artists such as John Legend, Gwen Stefani and the Rockettes, according to Newsweek.
The publication also notes the following streets will be closed in order to accommodate the throngs of people lining the streets to catch a glimpse of the tree lighting:
- 5th Avenue between 46th Street and 52nd Street
- 6th Avenue between 46th Street and 52nd Street
- 46th Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
- 47th Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
- 48th Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
- 49th Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
- 50th Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
- 51st Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
- 52nd Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue
- Rockefeller Plaza between 48th Street and 51st Street
For those curious about what happens to the tree after the holiday season wraps up, Rockefeller Center promises to donate the tree to Habitat for Humanity. “For the thirteenth consecutive year, the 2019 Christmas Tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity,” the site reads. “Once the holidays have passed and crowds have dispersed, the tree comes down and is milled, treated and made into lumber that is used for home building.”
READ NEXT: TV Premieres & Schedule for December 2019