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Take a ride on the crane that hoists the star atop Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree

This virtual reality ride lets you experience the tree in a whole new way

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The tree is decorated with lights. There are illuminated statues of angels with trumpets in front of the tree. Curbed Flickr Pool/gigi_nyc

Getting the star atop Rockefeller Center’s 94-foot tall Norway spruce Christmas tree is no easy feat. It takes an immense amount of time, labor, and skill, especially considering that the Swarovski crystal star weighs more than 700 pounds. A new virtual reality (VR) by USA Today helps you get a feel for the weighty task.

The virtual ride takes you on the crane that is responsible for bolstering Rockefeller Center’s shining star onto the tree’s apex, giving 360-degree views as well. The ride is narrated by Rockefeller Center’s head gardener Erik Pauze, who has been responsible for 28 Christmas trees over the course of his career with the center.

It takes over 50,000 lights to make the tree sparkle and situating the start on top isn’t easy at all but the hard labor is definitely worth it. “Once we plug it in and turn it on, boy, it’s a great feeling,” said Pauze.

After the holiday season, the tree will be milled into lumber and donated to Habitat for Humanity. Last year’s tree has been repurposed and now serves as beams for a home in upstate New York.

Check out the video here, which lasts up until the 1:32 mark. Use the arrows located in the upper left corner of the video to change perspectives.

Rockefeller Center

45 Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan, NY 10111 (212) 588-8601 Visit Website