Joy and Christmas spirit are starting to glisten across the borough.
The 26th annual MetroTech Tree Lighting Ceremony took place on Monday November 30, at dusk at MetroTech Commons in Downtown Brooklyn.
Special appearances were made by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, as well as Brooklyn Nets Players Thaddeus Young and Chris McCollough, along with Big Apple Circus clowns, and the jolly and much anticipated Santa led by his two live reindeer, Prancer and baby reindeer Vixen. Also in attendance were Forest City Ratner Companies Executive Chairperson Bruce Ratner, and Dr. Herbert Daughtry, of the House of the Lord Church.
Guests were entertained by a musical performance by the Grammy award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and dance routines presented by Brooklyn-based dance center Dancewave. There was also a photo booth in front of the tree for guests to take pictures for free. Those who attended the free public event also enjoyed holiday treats provided by Starbucks and bakery and bistro, La Defense.
As for the Christmas tree itself, it is a Norway Spruce that traveled all the way from North Carolina. It is said to hold the record as the borough’s largest tree, at 54 feet high and 7,000 pounds, providing plenty of room for the over 10,000 lights strung along its branches. The tree was so grand that it needed to be put into place utilizing an 18-ton crane.
Brigitte LaBonte, vice president of external affairs at Forest City Ratner, recalls the magic of the evening, noting, “We were very fortunate to have a beautiful, cold night. There was a festive feel and a lot of families with kids came out.”
There was a reason for the fire commissioner’s presence at the event. LaBonte said that, after his speech, Santa mounted a fire truck ladder to approach the tree, and then led the audience in a countdown that culminated in the lights being turned on. With a wave of his magical wand, the tree was lit.
LaBonte noted, “I heard whisperings from the kids. They were very excited, and it was a very fun, lovely night. It was a great community collaboration, with mixed diversity, which fully represents downtown Brooklyn.”