I was eight years old when I saw the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree for the first time, of course they are replaced every year, but the role is always filled by a fitting spruce making it difficult to compare it year to year. The magnificence was altered by the scaffolding surrounding it and yet with that obstacle I knew how special that tree was. I had never seen a tree that large outside of a forest, and the smell was potent - as if you had shoved twenty of those pine air fresheners up your nose...
This was the first time I had been to New York City as well, and since it is the spot where I took my first NYC steps, Rockefeller has always held a special place in my heart. Hand in hand with my mom, we circled the gargantuan holiday symbol and I longed to see it "unwrapped" without the obtrusive wood and metal structure surrounding it. So that day I settled for the next best thing - a ten dollar mass produced painting of Rockefeller Center with the Christmas tree lit in a frenzy of colored bulbs.
This painting still sits where I placed in my childhood room, and still reminds me of that first time, the exposure to the electric atmosphere of the city during the holidays. I would make that trip for many years proceeding that moment, and just like I had seen it the first time, I got to see the tree covered more than once. It was on a trip that my parents decided to take that the view would change, just a weekend trip to the city, where we had planned to go to the top of the Empire State Building. In the trips prior to this one, we would go for a day, just to walk around and return home to New Hampshire in the evening, and would usually take place the weekend before Thanksgiving.
This weekend trip was during the first week in December, and so to our luck the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was lit for all to see. I felt like a person seeing the sun for the first time because the tree was a magnificent sight to behold. The lights seemed to sparkle in a way that I had never known they could and the spruce seemed to grow with every passing second - it quite literally took my breath away. To be able to see it with my family was the icing on the cake.
Of course I was able to see it lit up since coming to Wagner, but the crowds often deterred me from getting close to that area this time of year. I went with friends my freshman year, and would see it with the scaffolding the following years, but never outwardly sought seeing it.
This changed when I started my internship this year, three times a week, I enter the heart of Rockefeller Center to get to work, and I have loved every minute of it. That is until the crowds started multiplying when the ice rink opened. But it was fascinating to see the process take place before my eyes as the tree arrived, was adorned in lights, and "unwrapped." It is also because of my internship that I was able to watch the lighting from the comfort of an office window, an experience I would have never imagined when I saw the tree for the first time at eight years old. It just goes to show, you never know what the future holds.