BY LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – “Daddy Al” Dick had complete confidence that when everyone saw his family’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, they would see just how gorgeous it could be.
“It was perfect,” he said. “Just like we knew it would be.”
With performances by Kelly Clarkson, the Goo Goo Dolls, Dolly Parton and Earth Wind & Fire, the 75-foot Norway Spruce – the second from Oneonta – was lit during the 88th annual celebration. At 9:55 p.m., following the performances, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rob Speyer, Tishman Speyer CEO, hit the button to light up their 75-foot-tall Norway spruce as the 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
“We knew that tree was beautiful,” said his daughter Paula. “It was a magical night.”
“This year, we just feel the tree is vital,” said Speyer. “The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree always represents the holiday season, but it has also stood tall as a symbol of hope, resilience, and New York’s enduring spirit, from the Great Depression to 9/11, Superstorm Sandy through today. 2020 has been a difficult year, but New Yorkers have persevered, and we are determined to come back better and stronger. We are particularly proud to continue the joyous tradition this year.”
Before the tree lighting, the Dicks were taken to dinner and on a tour of the sights, including Top of the Rock and to see the famed Saks Fifth Avenue light display.
“I’d seen it on YouTube, but to see it in person was phenomenal,” said Susan Dick, Al’s wife.
And when word got around who they were, they had fans approaching them throughout the evening. “One woman came up to us and said that she had moved to Oneonta in 1982 and now lived in Rhode Island,” said Susan. “She asked if we knew some people that she remembered, and we did!”
The Oneonta tree is covered with more than 50,000 multi-colored, energy-efficient LED lights, and will be on display starting Thursday, Dec. 3, through early January 2021, with COVID regulations, including social distancing, digital queuing, time limits and mask requirements, in place. The lit tree will also will be livestreamed each day from 8 a.m. – midnight.