At least social-distancing isn’t a problem.
The Rockefeller Christmas tree had a silent first day of viewing under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s stringent coronavirus rules, with hardly a creature stirring — not even a panhandling Mickey Mouse — at the normally hopping holiday hot-spot.
So few people showed up to eye the arbor Thursday that pandemic precautions including private viewing pods and the virtual queueing system weren’t needed, as visitors were able to amble up to a railing before the tree with ample room for social-distancing.
“The tree is spectacular, but something is definitely diminished by the lack of people,” said tourist Robert Petit, visiting from Marseille, France.
“I guess I was hoping to experience some of the magic and excitement of New York in December, but this feels like the center of a small town that put up an unusually large tree,” cracked Petit, 24.
After Wednesday night’s nationally-televised lighting ceremony was officially closed to in-person lookie-loos altogether — and de Blasio urged people to stay away — Midtown continued to look more like a ghost town well into Thursday afternoon.
At least one local worker said the empty streets are already impacting the bottom line.
“Last year there were lines of people, thousands of people coming to see the tree,” said the employee at Morrell & Company, a liquor store across 49th Street from Rock Center.
The worker, who declined to give their name, said that lack of crowds means they aren’t selling as much liquid holiday cheer as usual.
“Our online orders are still strong, but foot traffic is almost nothing now, and we always depended on that during the holiday season,” the worker said.
For much of the day, security guards outnumbered visitors around the spruce.
“There are more of us than there are of regular people,” said one guard, also declining to be identified by name. “I don’t mind it because it gives me less work to do, but it is kind of pathetic. It doesn’t bode well for the city, I’ll tell you that.
“I don’t know why the mayor warned people to stay away if he already had a system in place to view the tree safely,” the guard continued. “I guess it’s true what they say: Be careful what you wish for.”
Credit: NYPOST Newzandar News