I was in New York yesterday, and like every other out-of-towner, I had to stop by the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, left. Even on a murky grey day, seeing a magnificent tree like this in the middle of midtown Manhattan really is a holiday wonder. Of course, this being New York (and Fifth Avenue), the tree is meant to impress: seven stories high, decorated with hundreds of lights and ornaments, and crowned with a 550-pound Swarovski crystal star valued at $1.5 million.
But it wasn't always so flamboyant. The first holiday tree on the spot was considerably more modest. In 1931, construction workers put up a 20-ft. tree on their work site and decorated it with improvised garlands and decorations. From these humble beginnings rose not only the grand Christmas tree of today, but also the landmark buildings of Rockefeller Center. Click here for a slide show featuring historic images and facts about the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Above: Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, December 10, 2012, by Susan Holloway Scott.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.