2003_11_rockchristmastree.jpgRockefeller Center got its Christmas tree as Rock Center's garden staff cut down a 79-foot and 9 ton tree from Manchester, Connecticut. Owner Frances Katkauskas told the AP, "My heart is breaking. But it's my Christmas gift to New York. It's sad in a way for us, but we've had her for so many years and it's a pleasure to let everybody else see it and enjoy it." She will be there for the tree lighting on December 3, when the tree will shine in its 26,000 lighted glory.

Police had been guarding the tree a few days leading up to the cutting, to ensure no one climbed it to protest its removal. Katkauskas is donating the trunk of the tree she and her husband planted 50 years ago to Manchester's historical society; a 9 year-old said, "I just want to count the number of rings. There must be so many."