The centerpiece of the holiday season in New York City is the awe-inspiring Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  Each year, a special tree is selected and its entrance to Manhattan is greeted with as much excitement as the arrival of Santa’s sleigh.

The tree before the journey began.

This year’s tree, a Norway Spruce from Danville, Pa., was spotted by Rockefeller Center’s head gardener several years ago.  But at the time, the tree wasn’t ready, nor did the owner want to part with it.

But after a few years’ growth and the home under new ownership, the 90-year old tree was ready for its time in the limelight.

On November 5, the 85-foot tall, 13-ton tree was cut down and loaded onto a custom-made trailer using a 160-ton hydraulic crane and a crew of 15-20 people to handle the tree.  The special telescoping trailer could stretch to 100 feet and accommodate a tree up to 125 feet tall, according to

The tree was then transported 155 miles to Manhattan, traveling in the middle of the night with a police escort on a route designed to disrupt traffic as little as possible.

The tree at its final destination - Rockefeller Center.

On Friday, Nov. 7, the tree reached the city and a 120-ton hydraulic crane set it in its place of honor at Rockefeller Center.  Over the next month, the tree will be bedecked with 45,000-plus lights and a 9 ½-foot wide Swarovski star.  It will then be unveiled on December 3rd, in a tree-lighting ceremony that has been a tradition since 1933. It will remain up until January 7.

While Barnhart Crane has never transported an item with such sentimental value, we’ve had our share of unusual cargo: museum statues, a 1960s era garbage truck,  nuclear reactor heads, bridges, and even a few massive live oaks.   Still, we love a tradition just as much as anyone else and hold fast to the traditions and values we’ve established in our over 40-year history.  We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful Holiday Season.

About Meredith Portman

Meredith Portman is a freelance writer who specializes in heavy industry, healthcare and education.
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