Just before dawn 

Oneonta tree to grace Rockefeller Center

Story by Jessica Reynolds staff writer The Daily Star

ONEONTA — Halloween had hardly begun Monday when news about Christmas took center stage.
That’s because a massive Norway spruce at 72 Country Club Road in the town of Oneonta has been selected to serve as this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in Manhattan, according to a Monday morning media release from the center.
Area officials said Monday that they were excited to hear the news, rumors of which had been circulating for several months.
The tree is in Angie and Graig Eichler’s backyard.
“It’s true,” Angie Eichler said Monday. “We’re excited. We’ve known for a while now. We’re glad we can finally talk about it.”
However, the Eichlers — who both work at SUNY Oneonta — cannot actually talk about it, at least not to media personnel. Brady Littlefield, a representative from Rubenstein*, refused to allow any further interviews with them until next week, when the huge evergreen will be cut down.
The Rockefeller Christmas tree tradition dates back to 1931, when construction workers erected the first one on the center plaza block. The holiday icon is now raised there every year.
The center takes applications for a Christmas tree from the public each year, according to the site. To be considered, a tree must be in the later years of its life cycle and must measure at least 75 feet tall and 45 feet in diameter, it said.
“If you have a Norway Spruce you would like us to consider, please complete the form to the left,” the website reads. “Any details on the tree, including its approximate age and any related family stories, are greatly appreciated. If we are interested in exploring your tree more closely, we will be in touch.”
Last year’s tree also came from New York, from the Ulster County town of Gardiner.
Several friends gathered Monday outside of the Eichler’s home, a small brown house with green trim.
Meanwhile, workers from Torsilieri Inc. of New Jersey emerged from large trucks and unloaded plywood onto the Eichler’s front lawn. The landscape business has a “reputation for sensitivity in moving large trees,” according to a 2007 obituary in The New York Times for Marc Torsilieri, who graduated from the State University College of Technology at Delhi.
The Eichler’s spruce will be cut Thursday, Nov. 10, and will arrive at its New York City home on Saturday, Nov. 12, according to the Monday media release.
John Carroll, a spokesman from New York State Electric & Gas in Oneonta, said arrangements have already been made to temporarily relocate some wires and conductors at the house so there’s nothing in the way of cranes.
After being wrapped with more than 50,000 multi-colored, LED lights and crowned with a Swarovski star, the Oneonta tree will be lit during NBC’s live “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” broadcast on Wednesday, Nov. 30, the announcement said. The tree will be on display through Saturday, Jan. 7.
According to NBC, the center’s tree is usually milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity after it’s taken down.
Several people said Monday that there have been rumblings of the news around town, but it was, largely, kept a secret.
Peggy Falco, who lives around the corner on Handsome Avenue, said she can see the tree from her home. She heard several months ago that the spruce was in the running for Rockefeller Center, she said.
“We see it all the time,” said Falco, who has lived in her house for about a year. “The neighborhood has known about it. It’s going to be quite an occasion to see it moved. I’m sure all the neighbors will gather around to watch. Very exciting.”
Oneonta Town Supervisor Robert Wood said he was also “pretty excited” to hear the news Monday.
“I need to drive by and look at it,” he said. “We’re thrilled. When we see it on TV, we’ll all know it’s a little — or big — piece of home.”
Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig agreed.
“I think this will just reinforce the message that Oneonta is an absolutely beautiful place,” Herzig said, “and make people want to visit or live here.”
Frank Russo, executive director of the Oneonta Family YMCA, said it was no surprise to him to hear that the tree is coming from Angie Eichler’s property. Eichler is a fitness instructor at the YMCA, he said.
“Angie is involved in all kinds of community things,” he said. “She’s a very community-spirited person, and she’s always happy and bubbly. This is really cool for their family and for Oneonta.”
Barbara Ann Heegan, president and chief executive officer of the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, said she’s looking forward to visiting the tree in Manhattan with her family.
“We’ll have to get Eastern Travel to organize a bus trip,” she said Monday. “I think that people who go to see this Christmas tree from all over the world are going to really appreciate its beauty. And to know that that’s coming from Oneonta, I think, just makes it magical and speaks volumes about the beauty of our area. I think it will truly put a spotlight on our region.”
*Story changed at 11:36 am Nov. 1 to provide the correct name of the company.

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About Atouristlife

I have moved a lot in my lifetime. I also love cars, so loving travel is logical. My first attempt at being my own travel agent came after an exasperating experience in 2001. I had booked a Disney Vacation Package it was to be our first far away vacation as a family and my children’s first visit to Disney World. Through our travel agent I made the arrangements which included a direct flight, transportation, and our hotel with trip insurance. We were scheduled to fly out in November 2001 but then September 11th happened and that changed everything. First there were a lot of air restrictions besides being afraid to travel. I made some calls to see what would happen and found out the flights would be changed. The regulations no longer allowed for any direct flights due to concerns of hijacking and carrying too much fuel. I called the travel agent to cancel and was told the insurance did not cover that type of cancellation. I was furious. What was the point of paying for the Insurance? I was told we could possibly call the airlines for a credit and drive, which was not an option. After weeks of worrying we made the trip. The flight originally was 4hrs but now took 21 hrs but we had a great time. From then on I am the only one in charge of my travel arrangements. Insurance is still a very smart purchase as long as you are educated on what it covers and choose the best option for you. One size does not fit all, I am here to help you make the best informed decisions to benefit your lifestyle and budget , contact me today. Check out my Disney Quick Tips and many other adventures.

Posted on November 2, 2016, in New York and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Just before dawn .

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