VESTAL, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – The Christmas tree that will stand in Rockefeller Center this winter was officially chopped down on Thursday at a home in Vestal, New York.
The Norway Spruce is 80 feet tall, 43 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 12 tons.
After the tree’s removal, it was hoisted by a huge crane onto a 115-foot-long trailer. The tree will be kept in a secure storage location while it awaits its arrival to New York City.
A flatbed truck will bring the spruce into Manhattan on Nov. 11 before it is put into place by a crane at Rockefeller Center.
The tree lighting ceremony will take place on Nov. 29. The Christmas tree will be on display in Rockefeller Center until Jan. 13.
The 2023 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was donated by the McGinley family.
The homeowner, Jackie McGinley, said 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.
“It’s about the memories we all made here. And also the memories that we’re giving to millions of people in Rockefeller Center,” McGinley said. “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 said that Rockefeller Center’s master gardener, Erik Pauze, first got in touch about the tree in June.
Pauze said 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 said that on his way back, the McGinley’s tree happened to catch his eye as he was driving, so he pulled over and made a note of where it was.
“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,'” Pauze said.
Pauze said that he has checked in on the tree roughly a dozen times throughout the summer to water and feed it. He said that the tree needs to be at least 75 feet tall. The tree in Vestal cleared that mark by 5 feet.
The truck carrying the tree out of Vestal received police escorts onto the highway. The truck is expected to reach top speeds around 25 mph, making the trip to New York City a little longer than usual.