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NYC to close streets near Rockefeller Center for the holidays

Pedestrians crowd the streets and sidewalks around Rockefeller

Pedestrians crowd the streets and sidewalks around Rockefeller Center earlier this month. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

This year, it will be easier to walk to Rockefeller Center's towering Norway spruce — the pinnacle of many a Christmas trip — as New York City will temporarily shut two streets to traffic for much of the day and narrow several blocks on Fifth Avenue, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.

The tree draws an estimated 125 million admirers during the holidays, and pedestrians in recent years have overflowed onto the streets, imperiling themselves and motorists, officials said.

Beginning Nov. 29, the city will close 49th and 50th streets to traffic between Fifth and Sixth avenues from 2 p.m. through midnight from Monday through Thursday, from 1 p.m. through midnight on Friday and from 10 a.m. until midnight on Saturday and Sunday. 

On Fifth Avenue, one lane of traffic will be closed in each direction, and the city may do the same on Sixth Avenue if crowds warrant it.

“This historic announcement pedestrianizing Rockefeller Center will keep holiday revelers safe while ensuring minimal disruption to the rest of the life of the city,” de Blasio said in a statement.

The Christmas tree arrived at Rockefeller Center, which occupies six square blocks, on Nov. 9. The tree-lighting ceremony takes place on Dec. 4.

The movable barriers will be adjusted as needed depending on crowding and weather conditions.

The full list of closures and times can be found at: https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/563-19/walkin-the-christmas-tree-mayor-de-blasio-historic-expansion-pedestrian-space

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