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Once Seen as Nuisance, Tree Now Will Be Seen at Rockefeller Center

November 14, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — The 76-foot-tall Norway spruce that once irked Mary Rizzo when it blocked the walkway to her house looked just perfect to her after it was put up Wednesday as Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree.

The 7-ton tree came from the property of Rizzo and her husband, Carmine, in Bloomsbury, N.J. In a first for a tradition that began in 1931, the tree was chosen based on a photograph sent in by the owners.

"We were here last year and looked at the tree and said, 'Gee, our tree is as nice as that,' " 65-year-old Mary Rizzo said.

"It was time to give it up because it was getting too big and too near the house," said Carmine Rizzo, 72. "Here, it's nice. I look at the people looking at it and I'm really tickled pink."

The tree, about 75 years old, was cut down Tuesday. It will be decorated with 30,000 multicolored lights strung on five miles of wire. The lighting ceremony is Dec. 4; the tree will be on display until Jan. 7.

Megan Walsh, 16, of New York comes to Rockefeller Center every year to watch her father, an ironworker, help hoist the tree into place.

"This gets you in the mood for the holidays," she said. "This is the start of the Christmas season for me."

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