VESTAL, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – Rockefeller Center’s iconic holiday landmark has officially been chopped down at a Vestal home.
Crews cut down the 80-foot-tall, approximately 12-ton, 43-foot-in-diameter Norway Spruce as this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Thursday morning at 8 a.m.
After its removal, it was hoisted by a huge crane onto a 115-foot-long trailer. The tree will be kept in a secure storage location as it awaits its arrival to New York City.
A flatbed truck will bring the spruce into Manhattan on November 11 before it is put into place by a crane at Rockefeller Center.
The 2023 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is donated by the McGinley family.
The homeowner, Jackie McGinely says that it’s been a bittersweet process saying goodbye to the tree, but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that will impact so many people, even beyond our community.
Homeowner, Jackie McGinley says, “It’s about the memories we all made here. And also, the memories that we’re giving to millions of people in Rockefeller Center. Even though we’re going to grieve the loss of this tree, let’s all remember the time we had with it. And, what it’s going to mean to so many people.”
McGinley says that Rockefeller Center’s master Gardener, Erik Pauze first got in touch about the tree in June.
He says that he was actually in town to inspect a completely different tree that someone had nominated, but it didn’t quite fit the bill.
Pauze says that on his way back, this tree happened to catch his eye as he was driving, so he pulled over and made a note of where it was.
Master Gardener at Rockefeller Center, Erik Pauze says, “Wherever I go I’m on a swivel. I always take a different way home, when I come back from the nursery. Take the long way home; always looking, even when I’m out with family, I might take a quick peek. “Oh let me go check that out real quick.”
“Well, this tree was perfect. It had a great shape. It was nice and tall and went all the way to the ground. So, when I came back this year, I pruned it up a little bit to give it the Christmas Tree look, and as soon as I did that and walked away and looked form the street, it was just perfect.”
Pauze says that he has checked in on the tree roughly a dozen times throughout the summer to water and feed it.
He says that the tree needs to be at least 75 feet tall, and the Vestal tree is 80 feet.
It was loaded onto the truck bed this morning and received police escorts out of Vestal and onto the highway.
The truck is expected to reach top speeds around 25 miles per hour, making the trip to the big city a little longer than usual.
The tree’s official lighting will be broadcasted live on NBC during “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” on November 29th.