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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Arrives

By  Trevor Kapp and Aidan Gardiner | November 8, 2013 8:52am | Updated on November 8, 2013 1:19pm

 This year's tree is a 76-foot Norway spruce from Connecticut.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Arrives
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MIDTOWN — Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree arrived Friday morning, kicking off New York's holiday season.

The 76-foot Norway spruce was chopped down in Shelton, Conn., and shipped 70 miles on the back of a flatbed truck before being hoisted upright, according to Rockefeller Center.

Crews spent several hours pruning, positioning and securing the 12-ton tree, which will be lit Dec. 4.

"It's a great honor. It gives the Christmas spirit to the world," said Louise Vargoshe, who, along with her husband, John Vargoshe, and sons, Noah and Nathan, donated the tree. "All the neighbors, family, friends, whoever came to the house and saw it always said it would make a perfect tree for Rockefeller Center."

Louise Vargoshe said she submitted a picture to the Rockefeller Center website last winter and didn't find out it had been chosen until a couple of weeks ago.

"I think we had a mix of emotions because we knew it was going to go, and then we were excited because it was going to be at Rockefeller Center," she said.

Erik Pauze, the head gardener at Rockefeller Center, said the tradition never grows old.

"It's absolutely a great joy," said Pauze, who chose the Vargoshe family tree over a handful of others. "You get to see all the kids come around the corner over here after Radio City and you get to see everybody smiling and snapping pictures. It really is a lot of fun."

The massive tree will be decked with 45,000 LED lights and remain lit until Jan. 7, Rockefeller Center said.

The holiday tradition began in 1931 when construction workers erected a more modest tree and decorated it with cranberries, paper garland and tin cans, NBC said.

Mariah Carey performed at the 2012 Rockefeller tree lighting ceremony, for which a Hungarian immigrant donated another Norway spruce from New Jersey.