By Jennifer R Jones | Posted on December 02, 2009 12:00 PM
Gridlock alert! Gridlock alert! Ah, there's nothing like the sounds of the holidays in New York. Today is one of the biggest gridlock alert days of the year, because what is arguably the most famous Christmas tree in the country gets all decked out tonight in the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony. (Yes, dear reader, we told you about the tree’s arrival in the city several weeks ago…) The tree lighting itself takes place at 8:55 PM, but the festivities start around 6:45 PM. Shakira (no doubt shaking her hips) will be on hand to get things going, and Alicia Keys and Barry Manilow (will they have anything to say to each other??) are among the celebrities slated to be on hand. (The event, which features musical performances and endless banter, will also be televised on NBC-TV.) Rockefeller Center is located between 47th and 50th Streets and 5th and 7th Avenues. If you do plan on going, take our advice: Get there early, take mass transit, and be prepared to stake out a spot and defend it no matter what. The tree is generally lit daily from early morning until about 11:30 PM; on Christmas, the tree will remain lit for 24 hours. It will remain on view until January 7. The tree will be draped in five miles of lights and topped with a Swarovski crystal star.