9. One Year the Tree Was Painted in Silver
In 1949, the Rockefeller Center Tree was painted in silver to look like it was under the snow, in addition to 7,500 lights. Although that’s far fewer than it is now, the lights were in a variety of hues including pink, yellow and orange, and there were 576 whirling snowflakes on the walkway leading up to the plaza. The New York Times reported that when the tree lights were turned on, the skaters were “so stunned by the sudden magnificence of the silver tree shining above them that many of them fell down or bumped into each other while gazing at it.
It was such a spectacle that the tree caused one of the biggest traffic jams along Fifth Avenue “in recent years”, according to The Times, causing policemen to become “distraught.” The police department estimated that “hundreds were forced to return to Connecticut, Westchester and Long Island without seeing the tree.”