by Chris Hale 

rockefeller center

  The tree at Rockefeller Center has been an attraction for over 65 years. The tradition started with a very humble beginning. Back in 1931 Depression-era workmen building Rockefeller Center placed a small unadorned evergreen on the muddy site to celebrate Christmas. Two years later, in 1934, another tree was erected strung with 700 lights. From that time on the annual Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center marks the start of the Holiday Season. Be sure and catch this lovely site while in the City. Yes, the crowds are large but it is worth the effort. Beneath the tree the golden god Prometheus looks on the lovely Rockefeller skating rink. It is the work of Paul Manship and was unveiled in 1934. The 8 foot high bronze gilded statue weighs 8 tons. The Rockefeller ice skating rink first opened Christmas Day 1936. It is open from October to April. The skating surface is 122 feet long and 59 feet wide and can only accommodate 150 skaters at one time. While admiring the beauty of the tree you can walk through the elegance of the Promenade Gardens which face the tree. There eight-foot angels herald in the Christmas season with their slender, six-foot-long brass trumpets at any time. Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets.


 Photo: (c) Caroline P. Digonis 2005