The world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree that rolled into town Saturday was destined for greatness.
The complex’s head gardener says he spotted the now 72-foot-tall Norway Spruce on a trip to upstate Wallkill about five years ago and knew it would one day make it to the big city.
“This is a beautiful tree,” said Erik Pauze, who’s tended to 30 Rock’s gardens for the last 30 years.
The tree, nicknamed Shelby by its donors, weighs in at an estimated 12 tons and boasts a 45-foot diameter.
“We’re honored, we’re happy, we’re sad to see her leave a little bit but we know that everybody is going to enjoy it,” said donor Lissette Gutierrez.
In the coming weeks it will get decked out with more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights and be topped by a new, crystal-encrusted Swarovski star designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. The music-filled lighting ceremony will kick off on Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.
Early bird tourists got some of the first looks early Saturday.
“For my kids it’s pretty cool to see it go up,” said Michael Ortega, 40, who was visiting with his wife and kids from Miami. “It signals the arrival of the holidays in the greatest city in the world.”