Driving in Midtown is never advised, but really must be avoided this Wednesday. The 86th annual lighting ceremony of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree kicks off tomorrow, bringing with it more than 100,000 spirited visitors and blocks of street closures. The city’s Department of Transportation designated Wednesday a “Gridlock Alert Day” for the celebration, meaning drivers can expect travel throughout the area to take twice as long as usual.
The 12-ton spruce will officially light up at 9 p.m., with its sparkling 900-pound star on top. Performances from the Radio City Rockettes will be held at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 8 p.m. Ella Mai, Rob Thomas, Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, John Legend and more artists will be performing during the celebration as well, NBC announced Tuesday.
According to the Daily News and Gridlock Sam, traffic jams will start around 2 p.m. when early birds arrive to claim their spot closest to the Christmas Tree and street closures will begin at 3:30 p.m.
To avoid the congestion, take the B, D, F, or M to 42nd Street, the 6 to 51st Street, the 1 to 50th Street, or the N/R to 49th Street. But expect “pedlock” (overcrowding and potential stairway closures) at the Rockefeller Center and Fifth Ave-53rd Street stations.
Here’s the full list of closures:
46th Street between Fifth Avenue & Sixth Avenue
47th Street between Fifth Avenue & Sixth Avenue
48th Street between Fifth Avenue & Sixth Avenue
49th Street between Fifth Avenue & Sixth Avenue
50th Street between Fifth Avenue & Sixth Avenue
51st Street between Fifth Avenue & Sixth Avenue
52nd Street between Fifth Avenue & Sixth Avenue
Rockefeller Plaza between 48th & 51st Street
Fifth Avenue between 46th Street & 62nd Street
Sixth Avenue between 46th Street & 52nd Street
[Via NY Daily News]