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Imagine a 9-ton tree twirling gently in the breeze in midtown Manhattan.

Thursday morning, that was exactly what happened as Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree -- a 71-foot-high, 40-foot-wide Norway spruce -- hung from a giant crane. The spruce was harnessed to the crane by a team of master riggers who drove a spike into its trunk, which was then lowered into a seven-layer metal perch overlooking the ice skating rink and Fifth Avenue.

Two dozen electricians are now getting to work, decorating the branches with 30,000 lights on five miles of wire.

The official lighting ceremony, scheduled for Nov. 30, will be televised live from a Manhattan plaza that's crossed by about a quarter of a million people each day.

This year's spruce comes from Suffern in Rockland County, north of the city. It had been spotted from the air by a team scanning the tri-state area.

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