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This year's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree comes from Vestal, Broome County

Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo
The Norway Spruce is 80 feet tall and 43 feet wide. It is over 80 years old and weighs 12 tons. After workers cut it down, it needed a crane to be lifted onto a trailer 115 feet long.

This year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is on its way to New York City and is expected to arrive on Saturday, Nov. 11. It will travel all the way from the Town of Vestal in Broome County.

The tree is a Norway Spruce. It is 80 feet tall and 43 feet wide. It is more than 80 years old and weighs 12 tons. After the crew cut it down, it needed a crane to lift it onto a trailer that is 115 feet long.

Rockefeller Center has been lighting up giant Christmas trees in Midtown Manhattan since 1931. The trees often come from upstate New York and other states in the Northeast.

For more than three decades, Rockefeller’s head gardener Erik Pauzé has been in charge of scouting the trees. He spends all year driving around looking for the right one.

“I'll take the long way home every time, take a different way home every time,” Pauzé said. “And even sometimes when I'm with the family, you know, ‘Oh wait, look at that tree. Let me go over there.’”

Pauze said he typically looks for a Norway spruce. Ideally, it should be nice to look at from all angles, and it should stand alone, with no other trees near it.

In 2022, he was in Vestal checking out a different Norway Spruce when he stumbled upon the one chosen for this year.

“I came back this year, I came back in June of this year, and it looked even better,” Pauzé said. “I typically drive around it or go away for a half hour or 45 minutes, come back, and if I still get the same feeling, I'm out of the car and knocking on the door.”

The Christmas trees are donated by their owners. Once Pauzé picks a tree, he makes sure it is fed, pruned, and watered throughout the summer.

Then, when the time comes, workers wrap twine around the tree’s branches to protect them and tie it up for the hours-long journey downstate.

This year’s tree will be decorated with 50,000 lights and a 900-pound Swarovski star. A tree lighting ceremony will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m.