(NBC 4 NEW YORK, WETM) – From a coffee table to a yard in New York’s Orange County, the 2019 Rockefeller Center holiday tree is ready for showtime.
The 77-foot-tall Norway spruce from Carol Schultz in the village of Florida arrived at Rockefeller Center early Saturday morning.
Schultz used a sledgehammer to drive a spike into the trunk as crews prepared to lift the huge spruce. A crane raised it off a 115-foot-long trailer and hoisted it into place by the iconic Prometheus statue on the ice rink around 10:30 a.m.
The tree will be lit in all its glory during a live television special next month.
The 14-ton tree was cut down on Thursday. And it has quite a story.
Schultz tells News 4 it was only 4 feet tall when she planted it in 1959. She says 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 said.
The head gardener from Rockefeller Center, Erik Pauze, says he spotted the top of the tree while he was driving and he just had to figure out a way to get to it.
“As soon as I came around the corner I kind of knew it’d be the tree,” Pauze said.
It was a bittersweet goodbye for Schultz but it was almost destined to be. It didn’t take a lot of convincing on Pauze’s part when he knocked on Schultz’s door, since she had submitted the very same tree to be the Rockefeller tree candidate in 2010.
After being adorned with more than 50,000 multi-colored lights and crowned with the iconic Swarovski star, the tree will be illuminated for the first time during a live TV broadcast on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
It’ll be on display until Friday, Jan. 14, 2020. Afterwards, the tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity to be made into a home.
Last year’s tree was a 72-foot, 12-ton Norway spruce from Shirley Figueroa and Lissette Gutierrez in Wallkill.
The first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was put up in 1931 by workers building the complex during the Great Depression. The first official tree lighting there was in 1933.