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New York City’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree goes up

NEW YORK — The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is in place and will soon be strung with 50,000 lights as one of New York City’s star holiday attractions, a gift from a same-sex married couple.

The 72-foot-tall, 12-ton Norway spruce arrived on a flatbed trailer Saturday morning and was hoisted by a crane into a spot overlooking the Rockefeller skating rink. Millions of people are expected to visit the tree, which will stay up till Jan. 7.

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Crowds will see the tree burst alive with 5 miles of LED multicolored lights and a 900-pound Swarovski crystal star during a televised ceremony on Nov. 28.

The 75-year-old spruce came from Wallkill, 60 miles north of New York. It was donated by Lissette Gutierrez and her wife, Shirley Figueroa, from their home property. They nicknamed the tree “Shelby.”

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“Now it’s not my tree, it’s the world’s tree; I’m so happy to be able to share her with everyone,” Figueroa said at Rockefeller Center on Saturday.

Figueroa said that when she and Gutierrez bought their house, the previous owner said Rockefeller Center’s gardener had his eye on the tree. Gutierrez, 47, said she initially was reluctant to give up the spruce, but Figueroa convinced her.