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    Rockefeller Christmas tree arrives in Manhattan

    Rockefeller Christmas tree arrives in Manhattan: 75-foot, 11-ton Norway spruce is lifted into place by a crane to be decorated in time for the holidays – but de Blasio STILL won’t say if tourists will be able to visit

    • A 75-foot tall, 11-ton Norway Spruce from Oneonta, New York arrived in Manhattan on Saturday
    • It made the 170-mile journey from upstate New York to Midtown Manhattan 
    • The tree will be outfitted with 50,000 multi-colored LED lights attached to some 5 miles of wire
    • It will be adorned with 900-pound star made up of some 3 million Swarovski crystals on 70 illuminated spikes
    • This is second time in recent years that a tree from Oneonta has been chosen as the Rockefeller tree
    • COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to ban public viewing of the tree being cut down on Thursday 
    • A scaled-back version of annual Rockefeller Center tree-lighting ceremony is scheduled for December 2
    • There will be no public access to this year’s ceremony, but it will be televised nationally on the NBC network 
    • Officials said they will soon announce plans on how to accommodate visitors who want to see the lit tree 

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    New York City received a much-need boost on Saturday with the arrival of a giant Christmas tree that marks the unofficial start of the 2020 holiday season.

    The 75-foot tall Norway spruce arrived at Rockefeller Center in the early morning hours accompanied by a police escort along the 185-mile route from Oneonta, New York.

    The tree was lifted into its spot by a crane and will be decorated over the coming weeks with more than five miles of lights. 

    A lighting ceremony for the 11-ton tree is planned at Rockefeller Plaza for December 2, according to NBC, whose headquarters stand in front of the plaza and which will televise the event.

    New York City received a much-need boost on Saturday with the arrival of a giant Christmas tree that marks the unofficial start of the 2020 holiday season

    The 75-foot tall Norway spruce arrived at Rockefeller Center in the early morning hours accompanied by a police escort along the 185-mile route from Oneonta, New York

    The 75-foot tall Norway spruce arrived at Rockefeller Center in the early morning hours accompanied by a police escort along the 185-mile route from Oneonta, New York

    The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree arrives at Rockefeller Plaza on Saturday in New York City

    The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree arrives at Rockefeller Plaza on Saturday in New York City

    A lighting ceremony for the 11-ton tree is planned at Rockefeller Plaza for December 2, according to NBC, whose headquarters stand in front of the plaza and which will televise the event

    A lighting ceremony for the 11-ton tree is planned at Rockefeller Plaza for December 2, according to NBC, whose headquarters stand in front of the plaza and which will televise the event

    In-person spectators will not be allowed at the lighting ceremony, which usually draws hundreds of holiday well-wishers

    In-person spectators will not be allowed at the lighting ceremony, which usually draws hundreds of holiday well-wishers

    The tree is seen where it stood in Oneonta before it was cut down on Thursday. Homeowner 'Daddy Al' Dick said that while the tree was beloved, he was glad to donate it due to the difficulties it created for yard maintenance

    The tree is seen where it stood in Oneonta before it was cut down on Thursday. Homeowner ‘Daddy Al’ Dick said that while the tree was beloved, he was glad to donate it due to the difficulties it created for yard maintenance 

    In-person spectators will not be allowed at the lighting ceremony, which usually draws hundreds of holiday well-wishers, this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the network said. 

    Visitors should be able to visit the tree during the holiday season — though organizers still haven’t announced plans to allow in-person viewing while limiting crowd sizes.

    ‘Details about how to visit the lit Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be announced in the coming weeks,’ the property managers said in a statement. 

    The holiday cheer comes amid a resurgence in the pandemic. Coronavirus infections in the United States are at their peak, with 139,953 new cases reported each day. Since the pandemic began, there have been more than 10 million infections and over 244,000 COVID-19-related deaths in the United States.

    Every year, the Rockefeller Center tree is decorated with thousands of lights on a five-mile-long wire and topped with a large star. It is visited by millions of tourists and New York residents.

    This year’s tree was donated by Daddy Al’s General Store in Oneonta.   

    The tree was lifted into its spot by a crane and will be decorated over the coming weeks with more than five miles of lights

    The tree was lifted into its spot by a crane and will be decorated over the coming weeks with more than five miles of lights

    The holiday cheer comes amid a resurgence in the pandemic in New York and across the country

    The holiday cheer comes amid a resurgence in the pandemic in New York and across the country

    Every year, the Rockefeller Center tree is decorated with thousands of lights on a five-mile-long wire and topped with a large star. It is visited by millions of tourists and New York residents

    Every year, the Rockefeller Center tree is decorated with thousands of lights on a five-mile-long wire and topped with a large star. It is visited by millions of tourists and New York residents

    Tishman Speyer, the company that owns Rockefeller Center, has said it's especially proud to keep up the tradition this year

    Tishman Speyer, the company that owns Rockefeller Center, has said it’s especially proud to keep up the tradition this year

    The pandemic has spurred the cancellation of other New York holiday customs, such as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

    The pandemic has spurred the cancellation of other New York holiday customs, such as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

    Tishman Speyer, the company that owns Rockefeller Center, has said it’s especially proud to keep up the tree tradition this year. 

    The pandemic has spurred the cancellation of some other New York holiday customs, such as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

    Earlier this week, the tree was cut down from the front yard of a home in upstate New York.

    But the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced Rockefeller Center to bar in-person crowds from seeing the famous tree-lighting ceremony on December 2 while it figures out how it will permit visitors to get a glimpse of the illuminated spectacle. 

    ‘We’re finalizing those plans and will announce in the coming days,’ according to a spokesperson for the landlords at Rockefeller Center. 

    After it seemed that New York was well past its dark period as the country’s COVID-19 epicenter, Governor Andrew Cuomo this week announced new restrictions on bars, restaurants, and gyms that are set to go into effect on Friday as the virus makes a resurgence across the state.

    A worker marks the base of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on Saturday morning

    A worker marks the base of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on Saturday morning

    A hole for a large spike is drilled into the trunk of the 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, a 75-foot tall Norway Spruce

    A hole for a large spike is drilled into the trunk of the 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, a 75-foot tall Norway Spruce

    Members of the tree donor's family Autumn Edison and Paula Dick hammer in the support spike at the base of the tree as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree arrives at Rockefeller Plaza and is craned into place

    Members of the tree donor’s family Autumn Edison and Paula Dick hammer in the support spike at the base of the tree as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree arrives at Rockefeller Plaza and is craned into place

    The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree arrives at Rockefeller Plaza and is craned into place on Saturday

    The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree arrives at Rockefeller Plaza and is craned into place on Saturday

    The famous Rockefeller Center ice skating rink will open on November 21, but it will limit the number of people on the ice

    The famous Rockefeller Center ice skating rink will open on November 21, but it will limit the number of people on the ice

    A crane moves the giant Christmas tree into place as workers and

    A crane moves the giant Christmas tree into place as workers and 

    The 11-ton tree was cut down on Thursday from a home in Oneonta, New York, in preparation for its 170-mile journey to Manhattan where it will be displayed at Rockefeller Center during the holiday season.

    The tree, which was donated by Daddy Al’s General Store, was placed on a 115ft-long flatbed truck before it was delivered to its destination on Saturday, according to WNBC-TV. It is estimated to be between 75 and 80 years old. 

    The city’s concerns extend to all the season’s festivities this year.  

    The famous Rockefeller Center ice skating rink will open on November 21, but it will limit the number of people on the ice. 

    The November 21 opening date is a month later than usual as Rockefeller Center is allowing local restaurants, which have been hard hit during the pandemic, to continue to use the space as an outdoor dining area for a bit longer. 

    Workers in Oneonta, New York, on Thursday prepare to cut down a 75ft-tall, 11-ton Norway Spruce that was chosen to be the tree that will be displayed at Rockefeller Center this holiday season

    Workers in Oneonta, New York, on Thursday prepare to cut down a 75ft-tall, 11-ton Norway Spruce that was chosen to be the tree that will be displayed at Rockefeller Center this holiday season

    The tree is estimated to be between the ages of 75 and 80 years old, according to the family that owned it

    The tree is estimated to be between the ages of 75 and 80 years old, according to the family that owned it

    Workers prepare the 75-Foot Tall Norway Spruce Tree for transportation to New York City donated by Daddy Al's General Store

    Workers prepare the 75-Foot Tall Norway Spruce Tree for transportation to New York City donated by Daddy Al's General Store

    It will be adorned with some 50,000 multi-colored LED lights attached to 5 miles of wire

    The rink will also close far earlier this season compared to previous years. The last day skaters can pay a visit to the rink is January 17. The annual Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, which features the Rockettes, has been canceled.

    There will also be no in-person crowds watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, though preparations are underway to stage a modified version that will be broadcast on television.

    Last month, Bryant Park opened its Winter Village, though unlike previous years it institute safety protocols to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

    As of Thursday, stores and businesses in the Rockefeller Center vicinity were open, though at limited capacity.

    DailyMail.com has reached out to Cuomo’s office for comment on whether new restrictions will be put in place that will affect shops and restaurants near the tree this holiday season. 

    After the tree’s arrival in Midtown Manhattan on Saturday, it will receive its usual glow-up, which will consist of some 50,000 multi-colored LED lights attached to approximately 5 miles of wire.

    To top it all off – literally – a glitzy star made of Swarovski crystals will be placed at the tree’s apex.

    A crane will hoist the 900-pound Swarovski crystal star atop the tree for the second straight year.

    The star measures 9-foot 4-inches in diameter and has 3 million Swarovski crystals on 70 illuminated spikes.

    Daniel Libeskind, the architect behind 1 World Trade Center, designed the star that millions will see sparkling on top of the tree.

    The tree was placed on a flatbed truck and is due to arrive in Midtown Manhattan this coming Saturday

    The tree was placed on a flatbed truck and is due to arrive in Midtown Manhattan this coming Saturday

    Al Dick (left) of Daddy Al's General Store in Oneonta donated the tree to Rockefeller Center

    Al Dick (left) of Daddy Al’s General Store in Oneonta donated the tree to Rockefeller Center

    Farewell, old friend: Al Dick's grandchildren hug their tree for the last time before it is cut down and sent to New York City

    Farewell, old friend: Al Dick’s grandchildren hug their tree for the last time before it is cut down and sent to New York City

    Dick's family pose for a photograph in front of the tree in Oneonta, New York, on Thursday

    Dick’s family pose for a photograph in front of the tree in Oneonta, New York, on Thursday

    The tree, which is two feet smaller and one ton lighter than last year’s version, was selected by Erik Pauze, the chief gardener at Rockefeller Center.

    He said he last paid a visit to Oneonta in 2016. Since then, he knew that was the tree he wanted.

    ‘I’m looking for a tree that’s gonna look great in Rockefeller Center,’ Pauze told WNBC-TV.

    ‘One that’s gonna stand up, have a nice Christmas tree shape like the one you want in your living room and look good.’

    The tree’s annual lighting ceremony will take place on December 2. There will be no public access to the ceremony, though it will be televised nationally on NBC beginning at 7pm Eastern time.

    It will likely remain on display in Rockefeller Center until early next year, at which point the tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, which will recycle it for use as lumber. 

    Unlike in previous years, in order to ensure social distancing, there was no public access for visitors to attend or get an up close look at the tree being cut.

    This is the second time in recent years that a tree from the town of Oneonta has been chosen as the Rockefeller tree, with the last coming in 2016, which was grown by locals Angie and Graig Eichler.

    Earlier this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio held out hope that a limited number of in-person viewers would be allowed to attend the tree-lighting ceremony.

    Workers are seen preparing to cut down the tree in the upstate New York town of Oneonta on Thursday

    Workers are seen preparing to cut down the tree in the upstate New York town of Oneonta on Thursday

    The tree is seen above on Thursday being loaded onto a flatbed trailer before it is shipped to New York City

    The tree is seen above on Thursday being loaded onto a flatbed trailer before it is shipped to New York City 

    Traditionally, the cutting down of the tree is an event viewed by the public, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to do a scaled-down version

    Traditionally, the cutting down of the tree is an event viewed by the public, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to do a scaled-down version

    This is the second time in the last four years that a tree from Oneonta has been picked to be displayed at Rockefeller Center

    This is the second time in the last four years that a tree from Oneonta has been picked to be displayed at Rockefeller Center

    The tree will be adorned with Christmas lights as well as a large star made of Swarovski crystals

    The tree will be adorned with Christmas lights as well as a large star made of Swarovski crystals

    An observer takes a photo of the tree before it is cut down by workers in Oneonta, New York, on Thursday morning

    An observer takes a photo of the tree before it is cut down by workers in Oneonta, New York, on Thursday morning

    While he was quick to express his ‘childlike’ wonder over the lighting of the spruce, the mayor didn’t offer any concrete answers, simply suggesting that indoor events should be avoided.

    ‘We want that to be a great experience, especially in the middle of everything people are dealing with,’ de Blasio said on Tuesday.

    ‘This is something really special each year for this city, and I don’t know about you, but I still have a kind of childlike wonder when the lights go on in that tree each year.

    ‘I think people understand that we have to be really careful with the danger of a second wave, but we’re going to take extra precautions to make sure that if people are trying to go by to see it, that we can keep it to the right number of folks at any given time.’

    The mayor assured: ‘We’ll get an update on how it will be handled, but we will take proper precautions.’

    The tradition of lighting a Christmas street outside the Rockefeller Center officially began in 1933. 

    Workers prepare a massive crane that will be used to lower the tree once it is cut down in Oneonta, New York, on Thursday

    Workers prepare a massive crane that will be used to lower the tree once it is cut down in Oneonta, New York, on Thursday

    The tree, which is two feet smaller and one ton lighter than last year's version, was selected by Erik Pauze, the chief gardener at Rockefeller Center

    The tree, which is two feet smaller and one ton lighter than last year’s version, was selected by Erik Pauze, the chief gardener at Rockefeller Center

    It will likely remain on display in Rockefeller Center until early next year, at which point the tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, which will recycle it for use as lumber

    It will likely remain on display in Rockefeller Center until early next year, at which point the tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, which will recycle it for use as lumber

    Unlike in previous years, in order to ensure social distancing, the was no public access for visitors to attend or get an up close look at the tree being cut down

    Unlike in previous years, in order to ensure social distancing, the was no public access for visitors to attend or get an up close look at the tree being cut down

    This is the second time in recent years that a tree from the town of Oneonta has been chosen as the Rockefeller tree, with the last coming in 2016, which was grown by locals Angie and Graig Eichler

    This is the second time in recent years that a tree from the town of Oneonta has been chosen as the Rockefeller tree, with the last coming in 2016, which was grown by locals Angie and Graig Eichler

    Observers keep their distance and take photographs as the tree is cut down in Oneonta, New York, on Thursday morning

    Observers keep their distance and take photographs as the tree is cut down in Oneonta, New York, on Thursday morning

    Last year's tree-lighting ceremony (above) at Rockefeller Center drew a large crowd of thousands, but there will be no in-person viewing of this year's festivities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

    Last year’s tree-lighting ceremony (above) at Rockefeller Center drew a large crowd of thousands, but there will be no in-person viewing of this year’s festivities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

    This year, the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink will limit the number of people permitted to skate. It will also be open this year from November 21 until January 17 - far shorter than usual skating season of years past. People are seen above skating on the rink in this December 2019 file photo

    This year, the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink will limit the number of people permitted to skate. It will also be open this year from November 21 until January 17 – far shorter than usual skating season of years past. People are seen above skating on the rink in this December 2019 file photo

    It’s estimated that more than 125 million people typically visit Rockefeller Center during the holidays, but with tourism stalled amid the pandemic, it’s unlikely the usual frenzy will appear this year.

    Iva Benson, an outside spokeswoman for Rockefeller Center’s landlord, Tishman Speyer, confirmed to DailyMail.com that the tree-lighting ceremony will be closed to the public.

    A spokesperson for de Blasio told DailyMail.com: ‘[The tree-lighting ceremony will] be remote once the tree is lit.

    ‘Until then, we’re working with the state and Tishman Speyer to allow for controlled and socially distant viewing access in the area.’ 

    While this year’s tree measures at a towering 75-foot, the tallest ever spruce to stand in the center was seen in 1999, which was 100 foot tall. The tree that year came from Killingworth, Connecticut. 

    ‘This year, we just feel the tree is vital,’ Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer said, alluding to the coronavirus pandemic that has forced the cancellation of other holiday traditions like the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. 

    Speyer said the company is ‘particularly proud to continue the joyous tradition this year.’ 

    Cuomo said all restaurants, bars and gyms statewide will have to close at 10pm starting on Friday, a major retreat in a corner of the United States that had seemingly brought the virus largely under control months ago. 

    He also barred private gatherings of more than 10 people. 

    The US has recorded over 240,000 deaths and more than 10.3 million confirmed infections, with new cases soaring to all-time highs of well over 120,000 per day over the past week. 

    Health experts have blamed the increase in part on the onset of cold weather and growing frustration with mask-wearing and other precautions.  

    The limitation on gatherings in private homes comes two weeks before families traditionally get together for Thanksgiving.

    The announcement was met with dismay from hard-hit restaurant owners and their advocates. 

    Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, called it ‘a huge blow to the restaurant industry that is desperately trying to stay afloat.’

    Cuomo spoke as rates of coronavirus infection continued to take off in New York and elsewhere.

    Over the past seven days, New York has seen an average of 3,600 new infections and nearly 22 deaths per day due to COVID-19. 

    That average number of new cases has doubled in the past 14 days.

    As recently as late August, the state was averaging around 600 new cases per day. Tuesday, it recorded 4,820, a new high since April. More than 1,600 people were in the hospital with the virus across the state Tuesday.

    Cuomo shut down all nonessential businesses in the spring when New York was the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States and started allowing restaurants and other businesses to open at limited capacity when infection rates appeared under control.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (pictured above on September 24) said all restaurants, bars and gyms statewide will have to close at 10pm starting on Friday, a major retreat in a corner of the United States that had seemingly brought the virus largely under control months ago

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (pictured above on September 24) said all restaurants, bars and gyms statewide will have to close at 10pm starting on Friday, a major retreat in a corner of the United States that had seemingly brought the virus largely under control months ago

    Over the past seven days, New York has seen an average of 3,600 new infections and nearly 22 deaths per day due to COVID-19. That average number of new cases has doubled in the past 14 days

    Over the past seven days, New York has seen an average of 3,600 new infections and nearly 22 deaths per day due to COVID-19. That average number of new cases has doubled in the past 14 days

    Even without the early closing time, restaurateurs have complained that the restrictions make it difficult to stay in business.

    Cuomo’s announcement came days after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that bars and restaurants in his state would have to halt indoor dining at 10 p.m. starting Thursday.

    Cuomo said further restrictions, including limiting restaurants to operating at 25 per cent capacity across the state, may be necessary if COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.

    The new closing time applies to all establishments licensed by the State Liquor Authority. Only carry-out service will be allowed after 10pm. Cuomo urged local governments to enforce the rules.

    After 10pm, ‘If the lights are on and people are drinking, they get a summons,’ he said.

    De Blasio supports the new rules, a spokesperson tweeted, saying they were necessary to fight back a second wave of the virus. 

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