NEW YORK — An 80-foot-tall spruce that survived the gale force winds of Sandy while still firmly rooted in Mount Olive, NJ, emerged resplendent from worker scaffolding one month later, adorned by more than 30,000 lights and crowned by a Swarovski crystal star. NYC Mayor Bloomberg threw the ceremonial switch at 9pm Nov. 28, and artists performing for the tree-lighting celebration included Rod Stewart, CeeLo Green, Scotty McCreery, Il Volo, Victoria Justice, Brooke White, Mariah Carey, Trace Adkins and Tony Bennett, with appearances by Billy Crystal and Bette Midler.
It was the 80th annual tree-lighting ceremony. The first tree lighting took place in 1931, and except for the following year, it has continued ever since. The tree will stay illuminated until Jan. 7, and its wood will provide lumber for Habitat for Humanity.