A number of reputable associations claim to present our country with our very own National Christmas Tree, and no one seems to be able to clarify which one is officially Official. As long as some trees are sacrificed to serve as beacons, guiding us through the chaotic holiday season, we are happy. Fearing that you get lost amongst strained displays of affection to people you don’t really like, we suggest you pay your respects to these downed natural beauties. And remember ‘tis the season to fondly refer to these said people as family.
The Real Thing
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (Established 1933)
It’s the biggest, brightest, gaudiest, most famous Christmas tree on our planet. It’s almost always a Norway spruce grown by enthusiasts hoping for the honor of having their tree chosen. 30,000 lights on five miles of wire for your viewing enjoyment. Open daily through January 3, from 5:30am to 11:30pm, all day on Christmas, and from 5:30am to 9pm on New Year’s Eve.
30 Rockefeller Center Plaza, at 49th Street
National Christmas Tree Outside the White House (Established 1923)
The only living tree, it came about through President Nixon’s response to anti-cutting protests, that is, planting a live tree on the south lawn of the White House.
National Christmas Tree Inside the White House (Established 1966)
Selected by the White House Chief Usher, Superintendent of Grounds and other staff, from trees presented by members of the
National Christmas Tree Association.
National Holiday Tree Outside the Capitol (Established 1963)
Displayed on the west front lawn of the U.S. Capitol after being chosen from offerings plucked from national forests presented by the United States Forest Service.
In this competition every contestant is a winner — they’re Christmas trees after all, not bickering candidates from opposing parties. Here’s our list of the second most worthy competitors.
Broadway Holiday Tree
Broadway stars will light it on Wednesday, December 11 at 5:15pm. The 25-foot white spruce will be decorated with green, red and gold lights and ornaments representing every show and theatre currently playing on and off Broadway.
Duffy Sq., Broadway at 46th St.
Chorus Tree at South Street Seaport
Under the Chorus Tree, covered in thousands of white lights and standing over 50 feet tall, see live 45-minute performances by the Big Apple Chorus. Fridays at 6 and 7pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 and 4pm running through January 1.
South Street Seaport, Fulton St.
The Divine Peace Tree at Cathedral of St. John
Commemorate the season of light with a stroll through the Cathedral to see Keith Haring’s silver-toned triptych, and the giant Peace Tree, covered with 1,000 paper cranes.
110th Street, at Amsterdam Ave.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Christmas Tree
See a lighting ceremony every Friday and Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. A collection of 18th-century Neapolitan angels and cherubs is shown among this 20-foot tree’s boughs and see the Baroque crèche figures in the nativity scene.
Fifth Avenue, at 82nd St.
New York Botanical Garden
This 30-foot holiday tree is the centerpiece of the Holiday Garden and a Train Show featuring miniature trains winding through landscapes of waterfalls, bridges, mountains, and streams, beside replicas of New York’s most beautiful historic houses and skyscrapers.
Bronx River Pkwy and Fordham Rd.
Origami Tree at American Museum of Natural History
This tree is covered in more than 1,000 brightly colored, intricately folded paper decorations representing objects and specimens in the Museum’s collection.
West 80th St, at Central Park West
You could care less about their rankings, you just want Christmas cheer, and an abundance of it, FAST?! These are not quite so big or bright, but we are feeling that Christmas spirit.
Some Still Swear By
Park Avenue Trees
Through the month of December,
Park Avenue at 91st St.
City Hall Holiday Tree
City Hall Park Fountain
Lincoln Center Holiday Tree
Broadway at 63rd St.
Little Italy’s Most Precious Blood Church
Lightings on Fridays, December 10 and 17 at 6:30pm.
109 Mulberry St.
Ok fine, the following aren’t trees at all, but some other Christmas sights we thought you might enjoy. We realize we are in over our heads… FalalalaLAlalalala! (We can’t hear you!)
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!
At 16 feet long, weighing three-quarters of a ton, it’s bedangled (yes, bedangled, look it up) with 12,000 Baccarat crystals, it’s intended to raise funds and awareness to help UNICEF “brighten the world” for children.
Fifth Avenue at 59th St.
Holiday Lights The Zoo at Night
Through January 9, 5:30pm-9pm
See over 140 lighted animal sculptures, more than 10 miles of tree and building lights, a lighted ice castle, a nighttime sea lion feeding, reindeer and camels on Astor Court and all of the usual Zoo exhibits.
Bronx Zoo, Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road
Schedule Through Dec 18, January 6,7, and 8, 2006, Friday through Sunday nights, Dec 19-Jan 2, Monday through Sunday, closed Dec 24, 25
Admission $8 to $11
Festival of Light and Sound Holiday
A monthlong celebration of winter holidays from around the world, but the star of the show is the garden, ablaze with 100,000 lights.
Through January 4.
Winter Garden at the World Financial Center