This is how it's going to look when all's said and done. A 72-foot tall, 12-ton Norway Spruce arrived Saturday in New York City as the centerpiece of the 86th annual Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony, the 2018 honors going to a Hudson Valley family.

The tree was donated by Shirley Figueroa and Lissette Gutierrez in the Orange County Town of Wallkill. Figueroa said it was always her dream to produce a tree for the big stage in the Big Apple. Figueroa had actually been cultivating a tree for that purpose at her previous home.  But when she and her wife moved in 2017, she thought her dream was dead. Lo and behold, however, their new home had an even better tree.

In fact, Rockefeller Center's official gardener Erik Pauzé had already been scouting this particular tree for a few years.

The history of the prestigious Rockefeller Center tree has a few interesting notes. The closest tree to Central New York to make the grade was the one donated by an Oneonta family in 2016. The 94-footer is the second-tallest on record, with a 100-footer from Killingworth, Connecticut selected in 1999.

The tradition began in 1933, the year the 30 Rock Plaza opened. Starting in 1971, the trees were mulched and recycled for various purposes. Since 2007, wood from the trees has been donated to Habitat for Humanity.

November 28th is the big day this year for the Wallkill tree's big lit-up debut.


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