SPRUCE HEADS TO NYC THURSDAY
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
WEST ONEONTA – Supervisor Bob Wood doesn’t want to brag, but there really is something special about the Town of Oneonta.
“From my understanding, it’s the first time they’ve selected two trees from one community,” said Wood. “The rumor is they wanted it four years ago, but it wasn’t quite big enough.”
With the 75-foot-tall Norway Spruce on “Daddy Al” Dick’s Route 23 property due to be cut down at 8 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday), Oneonta is now home to not one, but two Rockefeller Center Christmas trees, centerpiece of a world-famous holiday celebration spanning the Great Depression, World War II and now, COVID-19.
“We’re very honored to have been selected twice,” said Wood.
In 2016, Angie and Graig Eichler’s 96-foot-tall spruce on Country Club Road was selected after Rockefeller Center’s head gardener noticed it from Franklin Mountain en route to look at trees in Delaware County.
The Eichlers’ tree was Rockefeller Center’s second biggest ever.
“We just have better weather than anyplace else,” said Wood. “That’s why we grow the best trees.”
State police have issued an alert of traffic delays and lane closures through Thursday, Nov. 12, on Route 23 here as the tree is cut down and prepared for the journey to the Big Apple.
According to police, the area in the 3800 block of Route 23, north of Route 8 “may be experiencing higher than normal volume this week.”
Thursday, 7-9 a.m., the northbound lane will be closed, and both lanes will be closed after 11 a.m. as the tree is loaded for the journey.
The tree will arrive in the city Saturday – when traffic is lighter – where it will be decorated with 50,000 lights and topped with a Swarovski crystal star.
The star itself is new, designed in 2018 by renowned architect Daniel Liebeskind.
According to WGRZ, Buffalo, the tree will be lit during a televised ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4, which will feature musical performances and guests, hosted by Al Roker of “The Today Show”
COVID guidelines for viewing the tree lighting live have not yet been released.
Last year’s tree, a 77-foot-tall Norway Spruce, came from Florida, in Orange County. The majority of the trees have come from New York, but some have come from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Connecticut.`
The tree will remain up through the first week of the new year. Trees are donated to Rockefeller Center, and when they are taken down, they are donated to Habitat For Humanity to become lumber.
And Wood said that there could be more possibilities for future famous Christmas trees.
“I’ll be looking for more big trees as I drive around this winter,” he said.