New Yorkers gathered around a giant tree that came from the backyard of a September 11 first responder and would stay lit until early January.
New York celebrated one of its cherished holiday rituals on November 30 when a 12-ton, 74-foot Norway Spruce is illuminated by 30,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights. In its 78th year, Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting saw around 50,000 people coming to the city's heart to witness the event including a number of celebrities.
Kylie Minogue and Jessica Simpson, who took part in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, took the center stage to perform Holiday tunes. Other stars who came to share the joy were Charice, Susan Boyle, Josh Groban, Sheryl Crow, Boyz II Men, Katherine Jenkins, Annie Lennox and many more. NY mayor Michael Bloomberg also attended the event.
This year's tree came from Peter Acton's backyard. Acton is a New York City firefighter and September 11th first responder who lives in Mahopac, New York. "Over the years, people would say to us that the tree belonged at Rockefeller Center, but we never really paid much attention. Even now, my wife is disbelieving that our tree is really going to be this year's Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree," he said.
The tree will be lit from 5.30 A.M. to 11.30 P.M. everyday until January 7, 2011. But it would stay lit for 24 hours on Christmas Day.