Neighbor on Shelton tree: ‘I’ll never see anything like this again’

Evelyn Pellino, who lives just around the corner from the Vargoshe family, was one of about 100 onlookers who watched a tree be cut down and moved from a yard in her neighborhood.

“It’s unbelievable how they did this,” Pellino said. “Every day they’d wrap about six feet of the tree in rope. You’d drive by and see the stages.”

The tree is destined to become the 2013 Rockefeller Christmas tree in New York City, and was cut down and moved on Thursday morning from the Vargoshe property on Kazo Drive in Shelton.

Pellino said she has always admired the Norway spruce. “You’d come around the corner and see that tree — it’s perfect shape,” Pellino said. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful tree.”

She knows this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. “I’ll never see anything like this again,” Pellino said.

‘This is so exciting’

Joyce Eaton, another neighbor, said the tree was a landmark in the neighborhood. “This is so exciting that I almost can’t believe it,” said Eaton, who had lived in her home for 53 years.

Pellino, Eaton and many others stood behind temporary gates with the Rockefeller Center logo on them as the tree was cut down and moved by crane to a nearby 115-foot-long flatbed truck.

Chainsaw, mallet, crane and ropes

One man with a chainsaw cut the tree while another worker used a mallet to place pegs inside parts of the tree trunk as it was cut.

A huge crane — connected to the tree in advance — then was used to lift the tree and move it onto the nearby truck. It was slowly moved from the upright position to the horizontal position during the process.

While being cut and moved, other workers held onto ropes tied to the tree from different directions, as a way to balance the tree.

“This is so cool!” shouted one onlooker.

Placing the tree onto the flatbed truck took the most time, as workers had to make sure it was positioned correctly and properly secured for the drive to Manhattan.

Was Santa Claus in the crowd?

The tree is 76 feet tall and 47 feet in diameter, and believed to be about 75 years ago. It weighs about 24,000 pounds.

Toward the end of the process, a female observer got this reporter’s attention by saying, “Guess who was here?”

She then showed an image taken earlier at the scene with her mini-pad computer, which showed a man with a white beard in the crowd who looked a lot like, well, Santa Claus.

“He’s gone now,” she said as she laughed loudly.