Street closures begin before Rockefeller Center tree lighting with expansion of holiday space

People as seen ice skating in Manhattan, New York City NY at the Rockefeller Center rink in front of the Christmas Tree 2019 at the 5th Ave between 49th and 50th Streets. The rink is a symbol, a tradition and an attraction for tourists in NYC.

Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Mayor de Blasio has announced an historic expansion of pedestrian space around Rockefeller Center for the holidays — partial closures of 49th and 50th streets, along with Fifth and Sixth avenues, in what he calls a “first-ever commitment.

Starting Friday, Nov. 29, days before the Rock Center tree is lit in a live TV broadcast to kick off the holiday season, the city will pedestrianize the streets surrounding 30 Rock and Radio City Music Hall, using movable barriers to institute full or partial street closures that will alleviate the crush of foot traffic.

The closures are as follows:

Side Street Closures: 49th and 50th Streets between 5th and 6th Avenues will be open to pedestrians alone during the most congested hours.

  • By default, these streets will be closed between 2 p.m. and midnight from Monday to Thursday, 1 p.m. and midnight on Friday, and 10 a.m. and midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.

5th Avenue: Movable barriers will be placed on the east and west sides of the streets on 5th Avenue between 48th and 52nd Streets, eliminating a lane of traffic on each side of the avenue to create more pedestrian space. Additionally, there will be no turns on 47th, 49th, or 51st Streets.

  • Barriers will be put in place between 5 p.m. or earlier and midnight during the week, and between noon or earlier on weekends.

6th Avenue: Movable barriers may be placed on the east side of the street on 6th Avenue between 48th and 52nd Streets, eliminating one lane of traffic to create more pedestrian space.

  • 6th Avenue will be monitored and barriers will be put in place or removed depending on crowd conditions.

Buses: MTA buses will bypass 48th to 52nd Streets.

The NYPD and Department of Transportation will conduct joint round-the-clock monitoring of the area to adjust barriers if needed during times of high pedestrian activity and/or extreme weather.

Crowds are expected to flood the Plaza for the annual holiday tree lighting on Wednesday, Dec. 4 — and every day thereafter to witness the 72-ton, 77-foot-tall Norway spruce in all its glory until it comes down on Jan. 14, 2020. See full details on the tree selected for this year’s honor — and how it grew from a plant on a coffee table in a New York village to taking the prime spot in Manhattan.

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