Last Wednesday's lighting ceremony for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was closed to the public, but now that it's lit, the scene around "America's Christmas Tree" is, uh, a bit too lit.
On Saturday evening, large crowds descended on the surrounding area to view the tree and also the three-and-a-half minute Holiday Light Show on the facade of Saks Fifth Avenue. Remember last year's crowds? This year's don't look much better, despite the fact that we're still very much in a pandemic:
There are new pandemic protocols in place within the Rockefeller Center campus, including a five-minute tree viewing limit in dedicated tree viewing zones — visitors must sign up for their brief stay in these "viewing circles," which give you a little more controlled distancing and a nice view of the skaters, but the view of the tree itself isn't that much better than you get from the street.
However, while 49th and 50th Streets between 5th and 6th Avenues will be closed to vehicular traffic, the main thoroughfares of 5th and 6th avenues currently remain open to traffic (unlike last year), and the 5th Avenue side has been seeing a lot of crowding, so if you just just want to get a quick glance and photo, hit up 50th or 49th streets. While masks are mandatory throughout the area, as you'll see in these photos not everyone complied.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about the crowds at a press briefing on Monday morning, and said he was "tremendously concerned," and will follow up with his team about this.
In addition to the tree, you'll get holiday music, hype-elves dancing and handing out sanitizer, random Santas, and nearby holiday windows to fill out the yuletide vibe. For some Before Times nostalgia, you may even spot a couple of fake monks hustling the tourists.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit through early January, 2021, from 6 a.m. to midnight daily.