A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from February 19, 2005
World’s Most Famous Christmas Tree
The lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center is now a big event, broadcast nationally around the world. The first tree was set up there in 1931 and the first celebrated lighting occurred in 1933.

The moniker "World's Most Famous Christmas Tree" or "World's Most Famous X-Mas Tree" has not been trademarked, but it has been used since 1996.

19 December 1933, New York Times, pg. 26:
Rockefeller Center Music.
The Christmas celebration to be held at 5 P. M. daily during the rest of the week in the Sunken Plaza at Rockefeller Center will be featured today by the Gloria Trumpeters and the S-V Singers, who will present the Christmas carols. The programs, held under a brilliantly lighted 50-foot Christmas tree, will include singing by the choir of the Church of Heavenly Rest, the Columbia University Glee Club and the Singing Band of Manhattan Council, Girl Scouts of America.

19 December 1934, New York Times, pg. 19:

Holiday Musical Programs to Be
Presented at Huge Spruce
Set Up in Plaza.

A seventy-foot, seven-ton Norway spruce Christmas tree, one of the largest ever displayed here, has been erected in the sunken plaza of Rockefeller Center and will be the focal point of holiday vocal and instrumental programs presented by Rockefeller Center, Inc. The tree, which grew formerly in Babylon, L. I., is being decorated with 1,200 colored lights and it will be illuminated by four floodlights from the setbacks of surrounding buildings in the Center.

The lights on the tree will be turned on tonight or tomorrow night and will be lighted thereafter each night during the holiday season.

3 December 1996, Newsday, pg. B45:
Christmas in Rockefeller Center (WNBC/4 at 7) - The 64th lighting of the world's most famous Christmas tree, televised live. Al Roker hosts, and Michael Bolton and Gladys Knight will perform.

3 December 1996, Bergen (NJ) Record, pg. 8:

CNBC rings in the holiday season with "Christmas in Rockefeller Center," celebrating the 64th lighting of the world's most famous Christmas tree, from 8-9 tonight.

This year marks the first time the traditional celebration will be nationally televised in a one-hour program format.

29 November 2001, New York Times, pg. D5:
The celebrity-sprinkled ritual of lighting Rockefeller Center's huge Christmas tree turned into a civic pepe rally last night as the first lady, Laura Bush, told an overflowing crowd that "America loves New York."

"The magic has returned to the Big Apple, and it's time to turn on the lights," said Mrs. Bush, who traveled to Manhattan yesterday to join Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani for the traditional flip of an oversized switch, fashioned after a candy-cane, that bathed the tree in red, white and blue before a national television audience.

What Happens to World's Most Famous Holiday Tree?

Carol Costello, Jeanne Moos
653 words
17 January 2003
05:00 am
CNN: Live at Daybreak

Moos reports on what happens to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. It ended up at the Central Park Zoo, where the animals have put it to good use.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Most of us just throw out our Christmas tree at the end of the season.

But as our Jeanne Moos reports, that's not what happens to the world's most famous holiday tree.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Do you recognize the tree trunk Manny the Monkey is hugging? Or do we have you stumped?


MOOS: First, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree brought joy to the world.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: He rules the world...

MOOS: Now it's bringing joy to the goats and the otter and the polar bears.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Polar bear! Polar bear!

MOOS: Check out the latest in tree ornaments, frozen fish. About 35 slices, stumps and boughs from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree ended up here at the Central Park Zoo, where animals are eating off them and playing on them. Take the goats.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just love stumps. They love to climb. They're climbing animals.

MOOS: So are the kids of the folks who once had the tree in their yard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And our children used to climb in it.

MOOS: Now snow monkeys are hanging out in it, grabbing fruit, shoveling up Cheerios. It's all part of the Central Park Zoo's animal enrichment program.

SENIOR WILD ANIMAL KEEPER, CENTRAL PARK ZOO: It's stimulating the animal mentally, letting it use its brain a little bit.

MOOS: And when the fish is gone, Gus starts looking for peanut butter in those holes. The idea is to mimic foraging. When you tell zoo goers... (on camera): But that is no mere stump. That is the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

(voice-over): They tend to like the idea of the tree being recycled. Aaron the Otter is using a slice of the tree as a stage of sorts, where her keeper trains her. The African pygmy goats even sleep on their stumps.

30 November 2004, Associated Press Newswires:
NEW YORK (AP) - A holiday icon will begin to brighten Rockefeller Center when the 30,000 lights adorning the center's famed Christmas tree are turned on at the annual tree-lighting ceremony Tuesday night.
The first Rockefeller Center tree was put up in 1931 by workers helping to build the complex, and the first formal tree-lighting ceremony took place in 1933.
Posted by Barry Popik
Names/Phrases • Saturday, February 19, 2005 • Permalink

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