Updated (Again): Yes, Virginia, There Will be Xmas Trees on the Sidewalks of the UWS This Year


By Carol Tannenhauser

One of the sensual delights of the upcoming season is the scent of pine as you pass through rows of Christmas trees on the sidewalks of the Upper West Side. And strange woodsy people who sell them and other Christmas accoutrements.

With the cancellation of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, one of our commenters feared that the trees would suffer the same fate:

JC says:
I’m seriously worried that Xmas trees will not be sold on the streets of the UWS this year…

Have no fear (except of government bureaucracy), says one seller:

George Nash says:
This is Uptown Christmas Trees. We’re ready to go. We have protocols in place but the City is dragging it’s feet re: permission. Contact the Mayor’s office and Parks and let them know you want trees on the sidewalks. Merry Christmas (hopefully). We will also have online ordering.

We are awaiting a response from the Mayor’s office.

Update: Has the City been maligned? According to Siobhan Dingwall, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office, “…no permit is needed. Vendors just need permission from the owner of the premises.” Mr. Dingwall included the law:

§19–136(4) Obstructions

Storekeepers and peddlers may sell and display coniferous trees during the month of December and palm branches, myrtle branches, willow branches, and citron during the months of September and October on a sidewalk; but in any such case the permission of the owner of the premises fronting on such sidewalk shall be first obtained and a passageway shall be kept open on the sidewalk so obstructed for the free movement of pedestrians.

Update II:

George Nash says:
The issue wasn’t about permits. It was about permission to operate Christmas Tree concessions from NYC Parks and Recreation which was in limbo because of legal issues regarding coronavirus concerns until just yesterday when we finally got the word that we could indeed operate our concessions. So yes, there will be Christmas trees throughout the City. But not all sellers plan to operate all their sites this year. Because of the virus and travel restrictions some are having difficulty recruiting crews or are afraid sales will be down because their customers have fled the City.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 13 comments | permalink
    1. Robert K says:

      That is wonderful. I forgot about those obstacles!
      Let’s make a Christmas tree lane !

    2. Ken says:

      For the love of god, we have bigger problems than this..

      • WeaGuy says:

        Bah Humbug!

      • nemo paradise says:

        I was waiting for someone to speak sensibly about this.

        First, the whole notion of Christmas is highly problematic in a post-racist society. No harm may be intended, but the issues of exclusion, patriarchy, division and dog-whistle WASP supremacy are unavoidable.

        Second, the wanton destruction of tens of millions of evergreens (and their eventual incineration) at a time when our forests are burning from climate change — well, that’s just crazy.

        We need to put an end to this barbaric relic of Nordic/Aryan primitivism.

        • Jeff berger says:

          If that was a SJW parody well done! If you were serious, it’s time to back away from the computer and get some fresh air. Or visit a red state and talk to real people.

          • UWS_lifer says:

            Howdy Partner!! How’s Nashville treating you?

            Seems like it is the Red State folks (like you) that can’t get enough of NYC and the UWS. I know it’s a hard habit to break.

            In fact, you will probably be back here soon enough like that nice lady from Vermont.:)

        • GetReal says:

          That is over the top and then some. Should all religious holidays be cancelled, or just Christmas?

        • LL says:

          I’m guessing this is a joke. If not…wow

    3. Mr. Grinch says:

      Sorry, this is absolutely no time to be crowding people together onto already-narrow sidewalks. There will be another holiday season next year. Safety first.

      • lynn says:

        I don’t know if the majority of the comments here were meant to be sarcastic, but whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the trees are most likely going to be sold in December and it’s highly unlikely there will be outdoor dining at that time.

    4. Sarah says:

      On the contrary, I’d think this could be done reasonably safely (as it’s essentially an outdoor transaction), though perhaps there may need to be fewer vendors this year. Most city streets are not actually lined with outdoor dining, and most outdoor dining is going to have to be ending by November anyway.

    5. George Nash says:

      Furthermore,
      Christmas tree cultivation is sustainable farming. It keeps land open that would otherwise go into development, sequesters CO2, and provides employment in rural areas. Trees are replanted continuously in an 8-10-year rotation. And discarded or unsold trees are not typically burned, they are chipped into mulch, especially in NYC. Furthermore, the Christmas tree is deeply associated with the winter solstice celebrations that have been and still are shared by many cultures throughout all of human history. Hardly a “barbaric” Nordic ritual, but rather a symbol of sharing and coming together to celebrte connection to each other. In other words, not exclusively Christian or exploitative.

    6. Russ H says:

      With Mayor D B in charge, the trees may have to be 6 feet apart and masked.