The Christmas tree showcased at the Rockefeller Center, which was erected last Wednesday in a festive ceremony, symbolizes the holiday season in New York. The origin of this annual tradition, however, began at a not-so-merry time period. In 1931, the Great Depression was taking a toll on the U.S labor force, with unemployment at 15.9% (compared to today's four percent). On Christmas Eve, the construction workers building the Rockefeller Center (completed in 1939) had a cause to celebrate: unlike so many others, -they- were getting paid. To celebrate this occasion, the workers put up a 20-foot tall tree decorated with ornaments, right where they would be getting their paychecks: Rockefeller Center. Two years later, a savvy publicist with Rockefeller Center organized the first official tree lighting ceremony, establishing the now well-known tradition and calling the tree “a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike.” Ever since then, people from around the globe gather at Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree that brightens up Midtown, Manhattan.