For New Yorkers, the Rockefeller Center tree lighting signals that the Christmas season has officially begun. This year, the night also saw protests throughout the city in response to the grand jury's verdict in the death of Eric Garner. These were largely peaceful, and the lighting of the 85-foot Norway spruce in Rockefeller Center went ahead as planned. Strung with more than 45,000 LED lights, the tree is topped with a shimmering Swarovski star. As always, New York couldn’t have done this quietly. Thousands joined the holiday spectacular, which featured Lady Gaga singing "Winter Wonderland" with Tony Bennett, as well as the Rockettes.
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