Thousands of onlookers crowded behind barricades on the streets that surrounded Rockefeller Center. A video screen was provided for those who did not have a direct line of sight of the tree, which was illuminated with more than 30,000 lights and topped by a Swarovski star.
The tree came from the Mount Olive, N.J., home of Joe Balku. Balku lost power and other trees during the storm at his residence about an hour outside of Manhattan.
The tree was taken from his home in November. It had been there for years, measuring about 22 feet tall in 1973 when Balku bought the house. It's now 50 feet in diameter and weighs 10 tons.
The lights were turned on just before 9 p.m. yesterday in the 80th annual celebration. Prior to that, the tree-lighting event included performances from Rod Stewart, CeeLo Green, Scotty McCreery, Il Volo, Victoria Justice, Brooke White, Mariah Carey, Trace Adkins and Tony Bennett, along with appearances by Billy Crystal and Bette Midler.