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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting: How to watch, street closures

MIDTOWN, Manhattan — If you love Christmas in New York City, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting on Wednesday is the unofficial start to the holiday season.

The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. The NYPD urges motorists to avoid the area of Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall from 3 p.m. to midnight.

Anyone attending the event is encouraged to use mass transit.

All spectators attending the event must pass through a security screening prior to entering the tree-lighting area. Screening areas will be located at 48th, 49th and 50th Streets at both Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas. Spectators are reminded that umbrellas, large coolers, alcoholic beverages, backpacks and/or large bags are prohibited.

The following streets will be subject to closure from 3 p.m. until the conclusion of the event: 48th, 49th, 50th, and 51st Streets between Avenue of the Americas and Madison Avenue, 47th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue, and 52nd Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue.

• 48th to 51st Street between Avenue of the Americas and Madison Avenue
• 47th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue
• 52nd Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue

Effective Thursday, November 30th until Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, the following streets will be closed to vehicle traffic on weekdays from 5 p.m. until 12 a.m., and on weekends from 1 p.m. until 12 a.m. (Subject to change due to crowds):

• 49th Street between 5th and Avenue of the Americas
• 50th Street between 5th and Avenue of the Americas

The 75-foot Norway spruce came to the city all the way from State College, Pennsylvania.

More than 50,000 lights will brighten up the tree this year. That’s about five miles of L.E.D lights. Of course, the biggest sparkler of all will go on top — a stunning Swarovski star.

It’s Rockefeller Center’s 85th Christmas tree, the third from Pennsylvania, and will be on display until Jan. 7.