The huge snowflake has become an iconic fixture in New York City during the holiday season. It was handcrafted by German lighting designer Ingo Maurer and is adorned with 16,000 Baccarat crystal prisms. At 23 feet in diameter, over 28 feet in height and weighing 3,300 pounds, the UNICEF Snowflake is the largest outdoor chandelier of its kind. It was switched on November 18, 2008, and will flash and sparkle for the entire holiday season. The snowflake was dedicated to UNICEF by the Stonbely Family Foundation.
The United Nations Children's Fund (or UNICEF) was created by the United Nations general assembly in 1946 to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by WWII. In 1953, UNICEF became a permanent part of the UN system, and its name was shortened from the original United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. However, it has continued to be known by the popular acronym based on its former name. Headquartered in New York City, UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.