The First Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Was Covered In Garbage
There are few Christmas events more heavily anticipated than the tree-lighting ceremony in Rockefeller Center in New York City. The massive (and massively expensive) tree is always adorned with beautiful lights and glamour, serving as a shining beacon of prosperity and good old American dick-swinging. But the first Rockefeller tree had a much more depressing message to send: "We're broke."
While the trees today are gigantic 80-90-foot specimens cultivated from around the country, the first Rockefeller tree was a paltry 20 feet -- and it wasn't even Rockefeller's to begin with. In 1931, the country was suffering under the Great Depression, a time when not having to catch your food automatically made you a 1 percenter. But not everyone was suffering. John D. Rockefeller Jr. was making good time erecting his wildly expensive Rockefeller Center. Not that anyone was complaining; if he'd spent that money on cocaine and flapper girls, a lot of construction workers' kids would have had bricks for Christmas presents.
So while they were forced to work on Christmas Eve, the builders of Rockefeller Center were acutely aware of how fortunate they were to be earning enough money to last the winter. And so, while waiting in line in the cold for their paycheck, the workers decided to kill time and celebrate their good fortune by erecting a Charlie Brown tree.