Vestal's most famous Norway spruce starts journey to Rockefeller Center for Christmas

Every year in New York City, the lights and decorations on the massive Rockefeller Center Christmas tree attract tourists from around the globe.

This year, that tree's story begins on a cloudy morning in Vestal, just across the street from Binghamton University's East Gym. Dozens of workers in fluorescent jackets flocked around the 12-ton Norway spruce, as many eager spectators looked on from across the street.

After a crane secured the 80-foot tall tree, it only took a few minutes for the tree to be cut down with a chainsaw. After it was cut, the tree was rotated in the air and placed onto a large trailer, where it was secured with multiple ropes and chains.

Rockefeller Center's Christmas display tree is cut down in Vestal, New York Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023 and prepared for transport to New York City.
Rockefeller Center's Christmas display tree is cut down in Vestal, New York Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023 and prepared for transport to New York City.

Why Vestal tree was picked for Rockefeller Center

Initially, a different tree in the neighborhood was nominated as the next Rockefeller Christmas tree.

According the McGinley family who donated the tree, Rockefeller Center head gardener Eric Pauze noticed the McGinley's tree on Murray Hill Road while driving in the area.

More: This year's Rockefeller Center tree comes from Binghamton area: When it will move to NYC

A year later, Pauze approached the homeowners with the opportunity to make their tree the next Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Once the Vestal tree arrives in New York City, the McGinleys will be able to see it again.

"We have been fortunate in being invited down to the staking of the tree that will happen this weekend," Jackie McGinley said, "and then the lighting of the tree on the 29th. We are very excited."

This article originally appeared on Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin: Rockefeller Center tree from Vestal cut down, packed up for NYC