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Rockefeller Center ready to ring in holiday season with annual Christmas tree lighting

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NEW YORK — The countdown is on for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony Wednesday night at Rockefeller Center. 

The switch will be flipped just before 10 p.m. to ring in the holiday season. 

Those planning to come out in person should prepare for cold temperatures and massive crowds. 

“It’s excitement, it’s festive, it just kind of really gets you in the mood for celebrating,” one woman told CBS New York’s Zinnia Maldonado. 

“I’ve seen it before, it’s been years ago, and it just puts you in the Christmas spirit, it’s just so beautiful,” said Jackie Hiers, of Atlanta, Georgia.

“Layers, lots of layers,” one person said about staying warm.

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“Maybe get a drink,” another person added with a laugh.

With thousands expected to attend, the NYPD says it has an extensive safety plan in place. 

On Tuesday, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism Rebecca Weiner welcomed CBS New York into the Joint Operations Center, where police have eyes all over the city, including Rockefeller Center. 

“We’re going to have a robust uniformed presence on the ground,” Weiner told us Tuesday. 

Drone teams will be strategically placed throughout the area, along with two tethered drone trucks. The video feeds live to the Joint Operations Center, where leaders of different city agencies will gather and share information as the event is underway. 

“There’s a tethered drone on top of the truck, which goes about 200 feet into the air,” NYPD Assistant Commissioner Kaz Daughtry explained. “The incident commander also has an iPad, and he can use the iPad to actually monitor the crowd.”

The NYPD says there are no credible threats to the event, but the department is aware of potential protests, including a pro-Palestinian demonstration that’s set to take place Wednesday evening.

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Source: CBS

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