VESTAL, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – Rockefeller Center’s iconic holiday landmark has officially been chopped down at a Vestal home. Crews cut down the 80-foot-tall, approximately 12-ton, 43-foot-in-diameter Norway Spruce as this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Thursday at 8 a.m.

After its removal, it was hoisted by a huge crane onto a 115-foot-long trailer. The tree will be kept in a secure storage location as it awaits its arrival to New York City. A flatbed truck will bring the spruce into Manhattan on November 11 before it is put into place by a crane at Rockefeller Center.

The 2023 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is donated by the McGinley family. Homeowner Jackie McGinely said that it’s been a bittersweet process saying goodbye to the tree, but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that will impact so many people, even beyond our community.

McGinley said, “It’s about the memories we all made here. And also, the memories that we’re giving to millions of people in Rockefeller Center. Even though we’re going to grieve the loss of this tree, let’s all remember the time we had with it. And, what it’s going to mean to so many people.”

McGinley said that Rockefeller Center’s master Gardener, Erik Pauze, first got in touch about the tree in June. He said that he was actually in town to inspect a completely different tree that someone had nominated, but it didn’t quite fit the bill.

Pauze said that on his way back, this tree happened to catch his eye as he was driving, so he pulled over and made a note of where it was. “Wherever I go, I’m on a swivel. I always take a different way home when I come back from the nursery,” he said. “Always looking, even when I’m out with family, I might take a quick peek.”

“Well, this tree was perfect. It had a great shape. It was nice and tall and went all the way to the ground. So, when I came back this year, I pruned it up a little bit to give it the Christmas Tree look, and as soon as I did that and walked away and looked form the street, it was just perfect.”

Pauze said that he’s checked on the tree roughly a dozen times throughout the summer to water and feed it. He said that the tree needs to be at least 75 feet tall, and the Vestal tree is 80 feet.

The tree received police escorts out of Vestal and onto the highway. The truck is expected to reach top speeds around 25 miles per hour, making the trip to the big city a little longer than usual. The tree’s official lighting will be broadcasted live on NBC during “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” on November 29.