Weather: Mostly cloudy, with a high of about 40. Wind chill will make it seem a good bit colder.
Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sunday (Immaculate Conception).
In the center of the city that is at the center of the world, there’s an Art Deco pedestal surrounded by skyscrapers. On that pedestal is a 77-foot Norway spruce that Carol Schultz calls “my 80th birthday present to the world.”
About 60 years ago, Ms. Schultz moved to the village of Florida, N.Y., about 60 miles northwest of Rockefeller Center, and planted a tree in her front yard.
“I really didn’t think it would take,” she recalled in a telephone interview. “I don’t have a green thumb. The only thing I can grow is cactuses.”
But Ms. Schultz nurtured the tree, even giving it words of encouragement.
“I would talk to it now and then, since it’s been small,” she said. The message: “Someday you’re going to be there.”
“There,” she said, was Rockefeller Center.
In 2010, she and her husband, Richard O’Donnell, sent a photo of the spruce to Rockefeller Center officials, who look for a tree to light every year. In 2019, her tree was chosen.
The spruce arrived at Rockefeller Center on Nov. 9 and will be lit tonight at 9:50, according to a Rockefeller Center spokeswoman.
In the new year, the tree will be turned into lumber, and eventually into a home by Habitat for Humanity.
Ms. Schultz, who turned 80 last month, said she might plant a tree to replace her towering spruce.
Visiting the 🎄
This year, for the first time, the city has created pedestrian zones around Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall, temporarily closing nearby streets to most vehicular traffic.
Cars and trucks will be mostly banned along 49th and 50th Streets between Fifth and Sixth Avenues during the hours most people visit the tree and other holiday displays (2 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 1 p.m. to midnight on Friday; and 10 a.m. to midnight on weekends).
“I 100 percent agree with this idea,” Lisa Dontzin, 66, a personal stylist, said on a recent day as she walked to meet a client at Saks Fifth Avenue. “It will indeed make it safer and a little less congested.”
If crowds aren’t your thing, you can watch the lighting ceremony on NBC from 8 to 10 p.m.
Christmas trees have stood at Rockefeller Center for 87 years. The first one was about 20 feet tall.
Last year’s tree, a 72-foot Norway spruce, came from Wallkill, N.Y., about 75 miles northwest of Rockefeller Center. It was also the first tree donated to Rockefeller Center by a same-sex or Latina couple — Shirley Figueroa and Lissette Gutierrez.
Andrea Salcedo contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy contributed research.
Want more news? Check out our full coverage.
The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.
What we’re reading
The Empire State Building is the “most frequently Ubered-to tourist attraction” in the world. It’s also near almost every train in New York. [Jalopnik]
Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is spending heavily on Facebook ads. [BuzzFeed News]
Christmas tree sellers are back. Here’s an interview with one of them, operating at 90th Street and Columbus Avenue in Manhattan. [West Side Rag]
Coming up today
“The Power of Tea: Family Stories From Darjeeling and Tibet” features Ann Tashi Slater in conversation with Tenzin Dickie at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan. 7 p.m. [$19]
Celebrate the release of “Tales of the Night Watchman/The Red Hook: The Untold Legend of Luna” at Anyone Comics in Brooklyn. 6 p.m. [Free with R.S.V.P.]
Light Up MetroTech kicks off the holiday season with ice carvings, a tree lighting and performances at the MetroTech Commons in Brooklyn. 5 p.m. [Free]
— Melissa Guerrero
Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.
And finally: Old police surveillance footage, now digitized
On May 18, 1968, a crowd gathered for the People’s March in Washington Square Park in Manhattan. One large sign called for the destruction of “THE T.P.F. & Bureau of Special Services (City Secret Police).”
At one point, uniformed police officers arrested a young man with dark hair and led him away. A small group of people lingered nearby. Another young man, wearing an open-collared shirt and glasses, walked away, eating an ice pop and seemingly unbothered by the scene around him.
This is just one vignette from more than 140 hours of surveillance videos that were created by the New York Police Department from 1960 through 1980. The footage was recently made public by the city’s Department of Records and Information Services.
In a statement, the records department said the footage “provides an extraordinary, never-before-seen visual record of one of the most tumultuous eras in American history.” The trove includes videos from the first Earth Day march in 1970, a rally organized by the Nation of Islam and anti-segregation protests.
The website Gothamist, which wrote about the footage yesterday, spoke to Martin Stolar, the lawyer whose 1971 lawsuit against the Police Department led to the videos being released.
“The exhibit exemplifies why the case was filed in the first place,” Mr. Stolar told Gothamist. “They’re making a record of political conduct.”
It’s Wednesday — enjoy the view.
Metropolitan Diary: Her numbers
I was getting coffee at a bodega in Crown Heights on a Saturday morning. While I waited to pay, I listened to the woman in front of me rattle off her lottery numbers: 1987, 1989, 820.
The speed at which she recited the numbers to the cashier made it clear that she bought lottery tickets often. I began to wonder: She had such confidence in her numbers, how did she choose them?
The first two seemed obviously to be years of some significance. The year a child was born. The year a grandchild graduated from college. The year the woman had gotten married. The year she had gotten divorced. The year she had started buying lottery tickets. The year her father finally told her he loved her. The year her friend got sober.
The last number, 820, had to be an address. The first building she ever lived in. The first apartment she ever bought. The place where the love of her life lives. The number of the apartment building she plans to buy if she wins the lottery.
I wish I’d asked her.
— Sarah Joyce