NEW YORK -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg has lit the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, ushering in tourist season in one of New York's busiest holiday shopping districts.
Tens of thousands of people packed the streets around the giant tree Wednesday to catch performances by Aretha Franklin, Shakira, the Radio City Rockettes and others.
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Rockefeller Center spokesman Keith Douglas says New York's most famous Christmas tree helps bring in 750,000 people to the center during the weeks the tree is lit. That's about 400,000 more people than visit on an average day the rest of the year.
This year's tree lighting ceremony looked a little different, though. The famed ice skating rink was covered with carpeting so onlookers could stand closer to the action.
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