Morning Bulletin: Christmas Tree Sticker Shock, The Influence of the Central Park 5 Case

Dog manning the Christmas tree booth at 73rd and Broadway on Tuesday, December 18. Photo by Danny Katman.

December 23, 2019 Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 51 degrees.

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We’ve been hearing quite a bit about Christmas tree inflation, and one CNBC reporter found out just how expensive local Christmas trees can be. “Wait, hold on … Canadian friend … and $250 for a tree? What’s going on here?”

The police response to the Morningside Park killing has been heavily influenced by the Central Park 5 case. “On the night of the killing, police officials took the unusual step of calling in prosecutors almost immediately to minimize any chance that investigators would repeat missteps made in the Central Park Five case, officials said.”

Major crimes are up this year in Central Park. “Serious crimes have spiked by 31 percent in Central Park this year, with a spate of muggings, a rape and a murder…The NYPD said crime in the city’s most famous park still remains “at historically low levels” and noted the last robbery in the park was Nov. 11.”

NEWS | 20 comments | permalink
    1. Ben David says:

      Crime is up in Central Park?! Wow, that is shocking and I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council are the most anti-police administration this city has ever seen.
      NYPD no longer stops, questions, frisks (why get sued?) … low level crimes are ignored … homeless are allowed to harass with no consequences … public urination is fine … and juveniles are no longer arrested (unless they commit a high-profile murder). Welcome to your NYC.

      • rs says:

        You should check the statistics for when stop and frisk was allowed. Essentially zero arrests for hundreds of thousands of stops. Even Bloomberg now admits that crime dropped after stop and frisk did.

        • MQue says:

          I’m sure that apology had nothing to do with his political run :eyeroll:

        • Ben David says:

          I did check the stats. In fact, I study them monthly. Any NYPD captain will tell you (OFF THE RECORD) that stats are no longer true the way they were under Giuliani and Bloomberg. Crime is under-reported. Precincts actually turn people away who want to report crimes–I have seen this happen! Same thing happens to store owners. Even real physical assaults–people are discouraged from filing police reports in NYC. So, please open your eyes to the new reality that we are no longer being told about all the crime in NYC.

        • Leon says:

          Actually, most of the stats I have read from sources on all sides of the issue show that about 12% of stop and frisks resulted in some type of an arrest. Those who are against stop and frisk focus on the fact that 88% didn’t, but to me, 12% is actually pretty good – I think there were roughly 500,000 stop and frisks a year at its peak, so 12% is 60,000 arrests, which is a lot.

          It is painfully obvious that the police have been directed to ignore a lot of things by the current administration as a sharp contrast to the prior administration. Police officers have been neutered, and I know that many find it very frustrating. I think there is a happy medium in between the two extremes.

          • Tim says:

            Great stats. Numbers don’t lie and don’t care about your feelings. Unfortunately, recent administrations have been more concerned with people’s feelings regarding stop&frisk. God forbid some people get their feelings hurt.

          • David S says:

            And the fact that 88% of those stopped had their Fourth Amendment rights violated for no reason whatsoever is of no importance to you?

            • Leon says:

              @David S: If I lived in a high crime area and profiled the same as the people committing most of the crimes, I wouldn’t mind occasionally being stopped if it meant they were more likely to catch the bad guys. Admittedly, the police went overboard with this during the Bloomberg administration, but in theory, it made a lot of sense.

              How does this differ from TSA? I’m guessing a lot lower than 12% of the people being screened are doing anything wrong. I frankly think that it is often a huge waste of time and resources. But sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the common good. Again, police went too far under Bloomberg, but the principle of it made a lot of sense.

            • Ed says:

              Actually, 100% of those stopped had their rights violated unless the police had reasonable cause to stop them (e.g., description matched that of a perpetrator fleeing a crime scene). “Acting suspicious” is one of the most common excuses given by the police to stop minorities. And the difference between this and TSA checks is that when you fly, you agree to be searched. Flying is not a right – walking down a public street still is.

        • Truth says:

          Stop and Frisk is one of the few ways to reduce crime. True, it is not politically correct, and that is why Bloomberg is backtracking, but it was damn effective. In a racially sensitive city, it is admittedly difficult to enforce without it being seen as racist. Essentially it is not designed that way, but back in those days I am sure many cops let their power go their heads and were heavy handed.

    2. lynn says:

      Everything else aside, I love this pic of the dog ‘manning’ the tree booth! Thank you WSR staff for another amazing year of stories and photos. Happy Holidays! : )

    3. KB says:

      Last year we paid something like $130 for a tree, without delivery or a stand, but purchased probably an entire month before Christmas. This year with the condensed season due to a late Thanksgiving, my husband purchased our tree two weeks before Christmas for $45.

    4. jezbel says:

      I’ve been buying trees on the UWS for years (except for my first year here after college when I went to work for a tree lot and got mine free the day before Christmas). And there were a couple of seasons when I had a car & drove to Jersey to pick mine up. But this year is by far the most money I have ever paid for a tree here. It is a tall one – 7 feet. But it was $190. I tried haggling and the folks from Columbia, South America weren’t having it. They claim this is the first year they had to pre-pay taxes on their inventory to the City & State. Sounds strange to me. But I waited until Saturday to pick a tree.

    5. Kay McFadden says:

      The price of trees sold by our Northern neighbors this year is outrageous. Thank goodness I could go to Whole Foods and pay $70 for a first-rate Fraser fir.

    6. West88 says:

      Only in NY would someone pay over $150 for a xmas tree when literally everyone else in America pays about $40 at their local Home Depot. It’s the definition of insane. I’ve never paid more than $80 for a 10-11ft Fraser fir at my local bodega because they know how insane the markups are in this city. Yes, I have to walk 7 more blocks than the one on my corner but I save hundreds where they charge $300+ for THE EXACT SAME TREE?!?! WHY DO PEOPLE PAY SUCH PRICES!?! Just b/c you have the money doesn’t mean you aren’t being conned

      • jezbel says:

        Here’s one reason I paid more. I sold my car when we moved back to the City 6 years ago, because we were making an effort to be socially conscious and not pollute or take up more space. Our local Lowe’s closed last year. Our grocery store Fairway, doesn’t sell trees, no bodega near where I live sells trees. And at 60-something-freakin-years-old there’s a limit to how far I’m going to shlep one home!

    7. Mary Ann says:

      So FINALLY there is some sort of patrol in Morningside Park. It took a poor girl’s demise in order to get the attention it needed for years. Same goes for St Nicholas Park. Students from CCNY & the high school cut through the park to get the subway on 135th & St Nicholas. You rarely see police at the top on St Nicholas Terrace or at the bottom on St Nicholas Ave. BUT they’re be in the park in broad daylight during peaceful music events. I am 60 and as teenagers it was a no-no to cut through either park due to no police activity

    8. Todd Sinclair says:

      Trees same as last year. Got 7’ tree for $70 on Bway and 97 from the sweetest funny Canadians from Vancouver. Same folks, trees, prices as last few years.

    9. Bob says:

      I’m Jewish so I’d never get a tree. But if you do get a tree, I feel we should support our Canadian neighbors – after all, Quebec is much closer than most states, and Canada is the U.S.’s largest trading partner.