Thousands of people packed the street of New York City to witness the lighting of Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The annual event that almost went unsuccessful proceeded on Wednesday, December 2 with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Tishman Speyer CEO Jerry Speyer flipping the ceremonial switch just before 9 P.M.
Hosted by Jane Krakowski of "30 Rock" and Zachary Levi of "Chuck", the event was made merrier with performances by Shakira, Aretha Franklin, The Radio City Rockettes, Alicia Keys, The Roots, Michael Buble, Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, and several others. They took the ice skate rink stage before the tree was being lit.
This year's venue is little different than previous years since the rink was layered with carpet that enables spectators to come closer to the big tree. According to Rockefeller Center spokesman Keith Douglas, around 750,000 people came to the place during the weeks leading to the tree lit. In comparison, about 350,000 people visit on average day in the rest of the year.
Earlier this week, NBC producers, writers and technicians threatened to "pull the plug" on the network's annual broadcast of the lighting of the Christmas tree celebration because of a contract dispute. The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians Local 11 said, "We can't let the Grinch at NBC steal another Christmas from thousands of honest working people. This charade must stop. Christmas is supposed to be a time of goodwill, but the network's management is trying to hide behind their fancy lights while leaving their employees in the dark."
However, few hours before the event was due to be held, the union's president Ed McEwan said that they will "stay on the job" for the lighting despite NBC's failure to bargain fairly with them.