Rockefeller tree is spruce from Conn.

November 11, 2009 5:17:44 PM PST
The star attraction at New York's Rockefeller Center this Christmas will be a 76-foot Norway spruce from Connecticut. Crews cut down the 10-ton tree Wednesday morning at the Easton home of fifth-grade teacher Maria Corti.

The spruce will be hoisted by a crane onto a trailer and transported about 50 miles to New York City. The tree will be erected at the center Thursday.

"I'm glad I could share this tree with the world," Corti said. "It's a beautiful tree. It's symetrical. It's so spectacular."

Corti said Rockefeller Center was a "magical" place her grandmother and other relatives took her to as a child to see the Christmas tree. Now she plans to return to see her own tree.

"When people from all walks of life and all corners of the world come to Rockefeller Center, it doesn't matter what kind of problems you're having," she said. "It's nice to escape and to be caught up in that moment and the goodwill."

Rockefeller Center typically receives 50 to 100 submissions a year from homeowners who think they have the perfect Christmas tree to donate, said Keith Douglas, senior director of marketing. The center also does aerial searches and spotted Corti's spruce as a good candidate, he said.

"It just looked perfect," Douglas said. "It has a really, really nice width to the tree. It has to have a fullness to it."

The height, fullness and density of trees are important, Douglas said, noting that 30,000 lights will be placed on the tree and that it will have to fit under bridges during the transport to New York.

After Christmas, the tree will be donated to Habitat For Humanity to use as wood for a home in Connecticut, Douglas said.

Tom Hermann, Easton's first selectman, said the town is home to eight Christmas tree farms. He hopes the tree's selection as the centerpiece of Rockefeller Plaza will inspire people to come to Easton get their Christmas trees.

Last year's Rockefeller Center tree was a 72-foot-tall Norway spruce from Hamilton, N.J. The owners had used it as their first Christmas tree in 1931.

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