NEW YORK -- More than 100,000 people, including the Rockettes and singers Leslie Uggams and Robert Merrill, Monday greeted the illumination of Rockefeller Center's towering Christmas tree with gasps, applause and a shower of confetti.
The lighting was the culmination of 10 days of work on the 75-foot Norway spruce which crowns the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.
At 6:06 p.m, a handful of city grammar school students pressed the electrical button that lit the 10,000 minature multi-colored bulbs on the 49-year-old three-ton evergreen from upstate New York.
Gasps and applause from the estimated crowd of 100,000 greeted the illumination. Workers in skyscrapers that envelop Rockefeller Center leaned out of their windows and tossed confetti. Others, holding glasses of champagne, toasted the traditional tree lighting.