There are some things that even the pandemic can't stop — and those things are usually televised, corporate-backed events that have become so embedded in our holiday calendar that they are now seen as a charming tradition. The Macy's 4th of July Fireworks exploded as we were still in the first wave of earlier this year, and the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (which actually did have humble origins) is set to go up as COVID-19 cases crescendo in the city once again.

Will it be an inspiring sight planted in Midtown to uplift New Yorkers amidst the ongoing pandemic? Or a gathering spot that unmasked tourists will be drawn to, likes moths to twinkling Christmas lights? We should know by the end of this coming weekend.

The tree being hoisted up moments after death.

This year's 75-foot tall Norway Spruce hails from Oneonta, New York, where it lived a full life and provided joy to local wildlife, but apparently not to its owner, Al Dick of Daddy Al’s General Store, who offered it up as sacrifice this year. Yes, it's a dark tradition, but it can be as delightful as it is tragic. As Percy Shelley once wrote, "Tragedy delights by affording a shadow of the pleasure which exists in pain...The pleasure that is in sorrow is sweeter than the pleasure of pleasure itself.”

Indeed, this 11-ton beast simply had to be felled, if for no other reason than to create a sense of normalcy and holiday cheer amidst an historically terrible time. Tree would have wanted it this way.

The deed was done early Thursday morning, and as of now the tree is strapped to a 115-foot flatbed, finally taking that road trip it always talked about but never got around to.

On The Road (With A Dead Tree)

While the tree will be propped up over the Rockefeller Center Rink this Saturday, there will be no public access at the arrival event this year. However, media will be allowed to get up close and personal with the tree corpse on Saturday, and we'll have a photographer in place to bring you photos of the strange ritual, including the part where a "spike will be driven into the trunk of the tree with a sledgehammer," per the rules of this brutal holiday ceremony.

While some call it straight up arboricide, Rob Speyer, President and Chief Executive Officer at developer Tishman Speyer, calls the tree a symbol of hope during a difficult year.

"The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree always represents the holiday season," Speyer said, "but it has also stood tall as a symbol of hope, resilience, and New York’s enduring spirit, from the Great Depression to 9/11, Superstorm Sandy through today."

Additionally, they announced today that The Rink at Rockefeller Center will open for the 2020/21 season on Saturday, November 21st at 2 p.m., and will run through Sunday, January 17th, 2021.