$1,000, as the Post notes, could pay for more than 600 meals for the homeless at the Bowery Mission, or 25 holiday gifts for in-need New Yorkers through the Winter Wishes program. It could also get you an “exotic” white fir Christmas tree off the street in Greenwich Village. Sixteen-year tree saleswoman Heather Neville, who runs a stand at Seventh Avenue and 11th Street, is charging $77 per foot for a 13-foot tree, which equals $750. Add to that a $200 stand, $25 delivery and setup fee, and $20 for the three men doing the job, and you’ve got yourself a four-figure Christmas tree.
A Christmas tree stand at 6th Avenue and 14th Street, via 6sqft/Instagram
Neville refers to herself as “the NYC Tree Lady,” and even has a website devoted to her tree delivery service. She has four other stands across the city and gets her trees from a secret source. Though she’s been referred to as “the Grinch,” she feels that her price tag is well justified. “They are not a traditional Christmas tree, so they are harder to get. Not many farmers grow them. To find a good one is difficult,” she explained to the Post. Her priciest sale to date was a recent 13-foot Nordmann fir that went for $500.
But over in Soho, salesman Scott Lechner has Nordmann firs that are priced at a whopping $950. Again, add to this delivery and you’re well into the thousand dollar range. He also feels his trees are well worth their cost. “It’s a 13.5-foot Noble from the North Pacific region of the U.S. and hand-sheared [by] specialists to open with symmetry. And between their actual weight of hundreds of pounds, shearing, and labor… they end up costing just a small fortune. Only one out of a thousand are so special.”
For comparison, typical five- to six-foot trees sell for around $100 depending on type and size. But prices overall have been rising in recent years due to a national tree shortage, and as the Post reported last year, tree vendors are paying astronomical prices to the city to lease sidewalk space. In fact, in 2015, Lechner’s rent for his stand at Sixth Avenue and Spring Street rose 19 percent due to “competitive bidding,” from $47,000 to $56,005.
There’s also the fact that as long as Christmas tree vendors aren’t blocking access to other businesses, they can sell trees for however much they like. 6sqft explained last year:
The lack of regulation allows vendors to price tress however they want all of December; the lax rules, according to DNA Info, are because of the “coniferous tree” exception adopted by the City Council in 1938 when then-mayor Fiorello LaGuardia was intent on ridding the streets of peddlers.
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