Rock­e­feller Cen­ter Christ­mas tree, from Wal­lkill, goes up

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS -

The Rock­e­feller Cen­ter Christ­mas tree is in place and will soon be strung with 50,000 LED lights as one of New York City’s star holiday at­trac­tions — the gift of 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.

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

The 75-year-old spruce comes 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 it “Shelby.” Mil­lions of peo­ple are ex­pected to visit the tree that will stay up till Jan. 7.

“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, said she refers to the tree as “she” be­cause “I felt she has a fe­male spirit.”

Also at the cer­e­mony was Erik Pauze, the cen­ter’s head gar­dener who cared for the tree over the sum­mer, wa­ter­ing it and feed­ing it com­post tea.

Figueroa said 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.

Af­ter the tree is dis­man­tled, it will be do­nated to Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity to help build hous­ing. YOUR CHOICE

DIANE BONDAREFF VIA AP

Work­ers raise the 2018 Rock­e­feller Cen­ter Christ­mas tree, a 72-foot tall, 12-ton Nor­way Spruce from Wal­lkill, N.Y., on Satur­day, in New York. The 86th Rock­e­feller Cen­ter Christ­mas Tree Light­ing cer­e­mony will take place on Wed­nes­day, Nov. 28.

AP PHOTO/JULIE WALKER

Lis­sette Gu­tier­rez, left, hugs her wife, Shirley Figueroa, with the 72-foot-tall Nor­way spruce that the cou­ple do­nated in the back­ground Satur­day in New York. The tree was hoisted into po­si­tion by crane af­ter mak­ing the 60 mile trip from the cou­ple’s Wal­lkill, N.Y. home and will be­come the 2018 Rock­e­feller Cen­ter Christ­mas tree.

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