Rockefeller Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree, perhaps the most famous Christmas tree in the World? It has been a tradition at Rockefeller Center, in Midtown Manhattan since 1933. The tree is usually a Norway spruce, 69 to 100 feet (21 to 30 m) tall, which is erected in mid November and lit in a public ceremony in late November or early December. The tree lighting ceremony is aired live on television every year and the tree is lit by the current Mayor of New York City and special guests. It’s estimated 125 million people visit the attraction each year!
Rockefeller Christmas Tree - Illustration by Jonathan Chapman
This is my illustration of the plaza on a crisp Wintery day! ‘Rockefeller Christmas Tree’ 28 x 28cm painted with acrylic and ink on paper. I was lucky enough to see it up close many years ago during my student days. That was at night, which is a pretty spectacular scene, but I wanted to capture the open air ice rink as well as the scale of the buildings that surround it.
It has an amazing history… The first Rockefeller Christmas tree was erected in 1931, during the Depression-era construction of Rockefeller Center, when workers decorated a smaller 20 foot fir with “strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even a few tin cans” on Christmas Eve. With the lighting of the 50-foot-tall (15 m) first official tree two years later, the tree became what Rockefeller Center dubbed “a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike”. A skating rink was opened below the tree in the plaza in 1936.
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