By Lydia Ettinger
A tree in Central Park is hung with ornaments, but it isn’t your traditional Christmas tree. This one is dedicated to New Yorkers’ best friends and quarantine buddies.
The tree is in the Ramble but its exact location is considered a secret. It celebrates the lives of animals who turned the hills, rocks, and fields into their personal playground. Owners hang pictures, ornaments, and goodbyes of all sorts.
One recent visitor named Marie was there to honor her dog Topanga, who died in August. Marie said she is grateful for the tree as it gives her and other owners a commemorative place for their furry friends. She teared up as she said, “It gave us an opportunity to honor her during the season.”
It provides a sense of community at this time of year, especially when their pets are not present as they hang ornaments or light Chanukah candles.
Marie stumbled upon the tree this week, but already feels a long-lasting connection to it. “Now that we know this tree is here we will visit every year,” she said.
Another visitor had similar sentiments. East sider Tyler visited a photo of his dog Darwin who died this past summer. Tyler’s sister and Darwin passed around the same time, so Tyler decided to hang a tribute to her next to Darwin, honoring both of their memories. Tyler is grateful for the dog community to have this space. He said, “Our dogs love the park and it’s a big part of their lives, having the tree is a big comfort to the community.”