WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS CHRISTMAS TREE (Ep #5, Unmapped Travel blogger podcast) – Rockefeller Center

WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS CHRISTMAS TREE (Ep #5, Unmapped Travel blogger podcast) – Rockefeller Center


I’m Angelina Zeppieri you’re listening
to Unmapped. it’s December in New York City there’s nothing as romantic as New
York City in December it’s beautiful romantic it’s chilly the Christmas
lights we’re at Rockefeller Center so we came around the corner and I almost
burst into tears like my eyes filled up with tears when I saw it I had never
seen it this is the home of one of the world’s most famous Christmas trees can
you describe what the tree looks like for me like a galaxy you know more
colors it’s not just white just like beautiful beautiful very very beautiful I feel like I’m gonna get blinded
coworker just that it’s very approachable this is famous in it yeah
New York City is an iconic Christmas destination Rockefeller Center is the
mecca of the holiday season my producer Adam and I hey guys we
figured that since so many people are travelling here for the holidays why not
go out there and talk to them we met people from all over the world
Dallas Texas from Toronto Scotland since Pam let us paint the
picture for you if you’ve never visited Rockefeller Center is a really big
complex of buildings smack in the middle of midtown Manhattan the buildings form
a Plaza where the tree is located it’s usually a huge Norway spruce ranging
anywhere from sixty five to a hundred feet tall towering over an ice skating
rink there are 50,000 multicolored lights that cover the tree and a
Swarovski star that weighs 550 pounds on top of it there’s holiday music playing
and everyone is booing and eyeing at the tree whether holding hands with little
ones linked arms with significant others or bundled close together with a group
of pals everyone is smiling the holiday spirit is infectious here at
Rockefeller Center as New Yorkers visiting the tree at Rockefeller Center
has always been a holiday tradition but we wanted to find out why people would
come from so far just to see a tree no you know I’ve been here like in a couple
of times I can actually every Christmas looking around this time they know we
come over again why do you come back over here father you have made a light
sign on a full skirt it’s very nice very like it over here do you have anything
like this back at home not quite like you cannot say that you’re gonna find it
anything like this around the world yeah I’m a hallmark junkie so I watch all the
hallmark Christmas movies and they’re always about lighting up a tree of
course where you guys from we’re from Toronto what brings you to New York well
we wanted to do a little home alone to excursion for him he’s six years old and
he likes that movie you like home alone what’s your favorite part about it I
like bad guys going to traps what do you think of this tree right
behind you it’s pretty good because it’s the
tallest one and in the whole entire world so yeah this year’s tree is
actually 85 feet tall so not exactly the tallest in the world but he was too cute
to correct him what else happened tonight like when a flight just for the
first time here yeah what happened to dinnertime you gave your mom a ring what kind of
ring here he showed us an engagement ring box what’d she say did you propose
we propose congratulations that’s what a lovely memory and thanks for what
brought you here it’s our wedding anniversary
how many Wow congratulations for those of you who don’t know the silver wedding
anniversary is 25 years this cute couple from Scotland decided to make the most
of their time while they were here oh would be up in helicopters we’ve been a
couple of Broadway shows and Festival that’s a little chick walk through
Central Park as we talked to more and more people we heard all of the reasons
that they come to New York just to feed right every all the Christmas lights
shopping sites we’re here on a school trip for the arts appreciation great
what are you seeing while you’re here we’re going to the Whitney the met the
MoMA we’re going to see the Rockettes a bunch of stuff I like it during the
Christmas time it’s so cool do you decorate Christmas trees in the desert in VR so they just wrap them with lights
it’s pathetic it’s pretty obvious that people visit
New York to celebrate take in the scenery go to shows and sometimes make
life-changing memories but there’s also a different set of people who come here
every day during the holiday season the people who work here what are you doing
here in New York what do you do I’m doing I’m going out photos by the tree every day is always meeting people take
pictures they happy holiday spirit this is still one consider it all going on
you know yeah you do it every year every year
for how many years have been doing it I give it take now what where we at 17 7
yeah Wow are you born and raised in New York or no you know do you have any
holiday traditions that you do so we know a bunch of reasons why people come
here for the holidays but we wanted to know how did New York City become the
travel destination for the holiday season well I went on a mission to find
somebody who could tell us a little bit more about it
Oh honk well it is finally discouraged New Yorker Sybil Groff calling you back
from New York City after the break we meet Sibyl Groff who the New York
Times recently dubbed the Christmas freak of Fifth Avenue for you the
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that’s te CH n e 17 com slash unmapped I’m sorry my sub boy broke down can you
oh it’s alright I I was actually having a little trouble myself I know I got
your message but Angelina I want you to meet civil gruff also known as the
spirited New Yorker I’m ready Sybil is a highly acclaimed New York cultural
historian her knowledge encompasses everything to do with architecture art
and history of Rockefeller Center midtown Manhattan in New York City she
considers herself blessed to be a Renaissance woman she’s worked in the
investment field worked as a security analyst she’s lived in London Louisiana
California in different parts of New York Wow this chick’s been everywhere
she really has she went to Columbia University where she studied historic
preservation and she’s gone on to write several books about the subject she’s
she now does lectures and tours all while being very active in the nonprofit
world so I do all sorts of stuff all right can you do me a favor sure take a
look at this picture of civil and just describe her to me this little old woman
wearing a giant red coat and a little red beret something about that hat yes
that little Perret actually has lights in it shut up and it’s embroidered on
the top and it says let’s get lit can we make copies of it I I definitely want it
for myself she’s also holding this giant candy cane it’s obviously fake but it’s
almost as big as she is so that candy came she’s actually using that to guide
people around on her tours she holds it up because she’s so short right she’s
looks like she’s this little lady her gloves I think say ho ho ho on them as
well as her bag she is decked out in Christmas gear so she looks great yeah
but I wanted to find out why she does all this meet you well I do it because
I’m short everything around here everybody’s got black on
including myself everybody wears black in New York and I am extremely short
she’s four foot nine the way the bicycles and the cars are nowadays it’s
horrible so that’s why I prefer if I wear red then they see me and they won’t
trample me the other thing is red is a happy color you know red is energy and I
can’t tell you how many people as I walk down the street stop me because of this
happy of this coat really yeah it’s beautiful they smile yeah that’s a good
way to make people smile I gotta say I was smiling that entire interview I’ve
been smiling the whole time I’m listening to it when she adds all that
stuff from her appearance to her personality she really becomes a
commanding presence when we met in Rockefeller Center we were looking for a
place to sit and she kind of took over the interview he is sniffing for bombs
and things like that he’s a security dog I’m not a dog person okay so let’s go
over here she started leading the way over to at this golden lab with a
security officer was business today are you finding much she’s talking to
the dog he’s flirting with you well he knows I was written up in the New York
Times yesterday right yeah and that’s who yeah and it was all about
Rockefeller Center oh yeah in this area yeah
look he’s adorable thank you he wants to shake your hand
shake hands lady wait a minute let me get my hand nobody would ever believe
that I would shake me with him how old is he he just turned nine the day after
Thanksgiving and he’s retiring at the end of the week where is he gonna go
he’s gonna go on my couch oh and I want another dog go back out to work okay
well hello whoa well thank you very much she ho ho ho’s all the time and I mean
it’s interesting if you say ho ho ho somebody smiles and actually it is a
word that goes way back in time that was used to call the Sheep by the Shepherd’s
like why so many questions she has the whole story behind ho ho ho and you can
find out the meaning on one of her tours but for now let’s get back to
Rockefeller Center okay eventually we did find ourselves a seat and I started
out by asking her for a little of the history behind Rockefeller Center it’s
the most important urban complex of the 20th century it’s complicated the
Metropolitan Opera wanted to move from where they were on Broadway at roughly
36 and they look at different locations and they ended up selecting here and
getting john d rockefeller jr. to help with the financing this was in 1929
around the time that the market crashed Oh
causing the Great Depression exactly so Rockefeller was left with the lease and
had the idea to bring in broadcasting companies like NBC who are still there
today right and the idea was to make Rockefeller Center a communications
house and so when they were building this in 1931 remember is the depths of
the depression and these workers were so happy they had a job that they chipped
their money together bought a tree and put it up right where the ice-skating
rink is I’ll show you picture she pulled out a binder that had a bunch
of laminated pictures the niners is the actual construction of these buildings
so here are the workers they’re plowing down there had been brown stones here
they’ve been a lot of buildings and they got rid of them all and built 14
buildings between 1931 and 1939 there’s the first fruit was it a big tree let me
show you a picture of it Wow there are so many workers and it’s not it’s
nowhere near as big as the trees today for sure and if you look all of the
decorations that are on it which are kind of just garland yeah maybe like
have you ever made those popcorn strands it kind of looks like that yeah those
were made by the workers and their families that’s amazing you see there
are st. Patrick’s is there right but there are the workers and it was such a
great idea that it began a tradition and this is
the 85th year so obviously this has been going on for
a really long time right now does Sybil know why people come from all over the
world just to see this tree because I think that tree is very inspirational we
all you work hard all year and you need a holiday that goes back in time
Memorial and even if you’re bringing in the crops you need to have a break it’s
renewing your spirit and everybody wants to come to New York because there are so
many wonderful decorations not only you know trees but the store windows are
fabulous to see and then you’ve got Radio City yeah it makes me feel that
same way we had felt after we spent that night talking all the people
Rockefeller Center it is nice to see like so many people that come out here
just to see it like from like a like a tourist perspective I don’t know I take
for granted that it’s here every year for sure 100% yeah it’s just so much
easier to get to you know it’s just for me yeah 35 minute train ride and then
I’m here you know and it looks like a galaxy to them so good I realized now
how much of an American experience this is right and how how I kind of get
really innocently people from all over the world yeah come here specifically
for it you know they came to see New York
during the hoffmans fuck it’s cold special thanks to Sybil
Groff for taking the time out of her busy schedule to meet with me
her book is on sale and is called New York Christmas ho ho ho at Gotham tide
and the best thing to do as we all know in the world today go to Amazon if you
look in our show notes you’ll see a link to purchase her book and if you happen
to be in the New York area I’d highly recommend going on a tour with Sybil
she’s a real treat and this interview doesn’t even scratch the surface of what
she knows but if anybody wants to do a tour the best thing is to email me at
spier SIB SP IR s I’d be at gmail or you can call me two one two seven two two
seven five nine one thanks for listening to unmapped you can subscribe to our
show on Apple podcast google play wherever you get your podcasts if you
like what you heard share on maps with your pals like if you know anyone
traveling for the holidays tell them to download our episodes
before they get on the plane you don’t even need Wi-Fi to listen to them you
can find out more by going to our website unmapped show
if you have any good holiday stories from your travels
send them in an email or voice memo to stories at unmapped sock shop we would
love to hear them I’ve been your host Angelina Zeppieri you can check out my travel blog at where is next calm and follow me on
instagram at where next Angelina unmapped is a proud member of
uncover Studios you can follow uncover on Instagram Twitter and Facebook at
uncover Studios if you’d like to sponsor unmapped contact us at sponsor at
uncover studios.com our executive producer is Dave Keine, Adam Raymonda
produced and scored this episode our staff also includes Caroline Valentino
James DeFrancesco Laura Scott Alvaro Nadal Heather Kugel Shaun Decker and Courtney Sulfaro alright so we like almost made an
episode I know oh should I say Happy Holidays Yeah right yeah okay happy
holidays

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