Updated: Jan 25, 2019
Thousands turned out on cold November night to huddle in pens and watch celebrity performers on oversized video screens while awaiting the lighting of the worlds most famous Christmas Tree. The 2018 tree was lit for the first time on Wednesday, November 28 at Rockefeller Plaza. Each year, thousands crowd the sidewalks for the event and millions watch the live broadcast. The tree will remain lit and on display on the plaza between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues until 9pm on January 7. On Christmas day, the lights shine for a full 24 hours.
For over eight decades, the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center and the holiday decorations adorning and surrounding have stood as a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike. From the beginning, the Tree was a gathering place and reflection of what was happening in the world around it. Even before the first formal tree went up, workers lined up beneath a Christmas tree on the Rockefeller Plaza construction site to collect their paychecks during the height of the Great Depression. People from around the world came after September 11th to see the Tree decorated in a patriotic red, white and blue. Today, more than half a million people pass by the Tree every day, making Rockefeller Center the epicenter of New York City’s holiday celebrations.