Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lit

Rockefeller Center – Rockefeller hosted its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony directly from the Center with special performances from Justin Bieber, Tony Bennett, and others on Wednesday night.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped light the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, putting a spotlight on a small-town spruce from Pennsylvania and ringing in the holiday season.

Anna Veteri, visiting the city from suburban Yorktown, said it was “great” to see the colorful lights go on. “It makes you feel like Christmas,” she said.

The 74-foot-tall Norway spruce was illuminated by 30,000 lights during a ceremony that featured performances by Neil Diamond, Cee Lo Green and Carol King. Justin Bieber and Tony Bennett provided pre-taped performances.

Tens of thousands of people were penned in on the streets surrounding Rockefeller Center, in midtown Manhattan. Most caught glimpses of performances on screens set up on street corners.

Paloma Diaz, 11, called herself a Bieber “believer” and attended to see him perform.

“I love him, but I also want to see the tree lighting,” said the Queens resident, who was with her mother. “I’ve heard other people say it’s really pretty when it lights up.”

The tree was cut down in Mifflinville, Pa. It’s decorated with 5 miles of lights. The lights will be on until Jan. 7. After that, the Christmas tree will be turned into lumber for the housing charity Habitat for Humanity.

Workers building Rockefeller Center set up the first Christmas tree there in 1931. The first official tree-lighting ceremony was in 1933.