- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Mayor Michael Bloomberg has officially kicked off the holiday season in New York City, lighting the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree amid thousands of revelers crowding the area.

Bloomberg helped turn on the 30,000 energy-efficient lights dressing the tree Tuesday night.

The lighting show featured live performances by Jessica Simpson, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, British singer Katherine Jenkins and teen pop star Charice.

The event took place less than a week after the arrest of a 19-year-old Somali-American man charged in an alleged plot to blow up a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore.

New York police blocked off streets and searched bags. They also urged people to use mass transit instead of cars to get there.

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