Rock­e­feller hol­i­day tree ready for dec­o­ra­tions

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - By Ver­ena Dob­nik and Julie Walker

NEW YORK — The Rock­e­feller Cen­ter Christ­mas tree is in place and will soon be strung with 50,000 lights as one of New York City’s star hol­i­day at­trac­tions, a gift from a same-sex mar­ried cou­ple.

The 72-foot-tall, 12-ton Nor­way spruce ar­rived on a flatbed trailer Satur­day morn­ing and was hoisted by a crane into a spot over­look­ing the Rock­e­feller skat­ing rink. Mil­lions of peo­ple are ex­pected to visit the tree, which will stay up till Jan. 7.

Crowds will see the tree burst alive with 5 miles of LED mul­ti­col­ored lights and a 900-pound Swarovski crys­tal star dur­ing a tele­vised cer­e­mony Nov. 28.

The 75-year-old spruce came from Wal­lkill, 60 miles north of New York. It was do­nated by Lis­sette Gu­tier­rez and her wife, Shirley Figueroa, from their home prop­erty. They nick­named the tree “Shelby.”

“Now it’s not my tree, it’s the world’s tree; I’m so happy to be able to share her with ev­ery­one,” Figueroa said at Rock­e­feller Cen­ter on Satur­day. “Mil­lions of peo­ple will come to visit Shelby.”

Figueroa, 49, ex­plained that she refers to the tree as “she” be­cause “I felt she has a fe­male spirit.”

Figueroa said that when she and Gu­tier­rez bought their house, the pre­vi­ous owner said Rock­e­feller Cen­ter’s gar­dener had his eye on the tree. Gu­tier­rez, 47, said she ini­tially was re­luc­tant to give up the spruce, but Figueroa con­vinced her.

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