christmas trees

Featured Story

Features, History, holidays

Photo of the 2021 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree courtesy of Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer

New York City’s annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been a favorite holiday tradition for New Yorkers and visitors alike since its inception in the early 1930s. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the festive tradition that draws hundreds of thousands of people daily to the area around Fifth Avenue. From the tree’s humble beginnings as a place to gather during the Great Depression to its 50,000 sparkling lights and 900-pound Swarovski crystal-covered star topper, here are 10 things you might not know about the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

Get the fun facts here

City Living, holidays

Image courtesy of NYC Parks

With the holidays now behind us, there’s no better way to officially wrap it up than sustainably disposing of your Christmas tree. New York City Parks’ annual Mulchfest started on December 26 and will run through January 9, making it easy for New Yorkers to dispose of their trees at 74 drop-off sites across the five boroughs. Mulchfest’s Chipping Weekend will take place on January 8 and 9 at 35 locations, giving participants the opportunity to watch as their tree is mulched and given back to them in a bag to use for further planting.

Find out more

Featured Story

City Living, Features, holidays

Photo by Charley Lhasa on Flickr

The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center may be the most popular conifer in New York City, with 125 million people visiting the tree each year, but it certainly is not the only one. Every holiday season, spruces adorned with colorful lights and ornaments pop up across the five boroughs. The city’s many holiday trees each offer a unique take on the tradition, which began in NYC in 1912 when the first public Christmas tree was erected in Madison Square Park. For those looking to skip the Midtown crowds this year, we’ve rounded up 15 of the best holiday trees, from the origami tree at the American Museum of Natural History to the flotilla of trees in Central Park’s Harlem Meer.

Get the full list

Featured Story

Features, History, holidays

How NYC brought Christmas tree markets to the U.S.

By Hannah Frishberg, Thu, December 3, 2020

A Christmas tree market in front of the Barclay Street Station circa 1895. Photo via the Library of Congress

The convenience of walking to the corner bodega and haggling for a Christmas tree is something most of us take for granted, but this seasonal industry is one that actually predates Christmas’ 1870 establishment as a national holiday and continues to be a one-of-a-kind business model today. In fact, in 1851, a tree stand set up for $1 at the west side’s Washington Market became the nation’s very first public Christmas tree market, the impetus behind it being a way to save New Yorkers a trip out of town to chop down their own trees. Ahead, find out the full history of this now-national trend and how it’s evolved over the years.

The roots of the Christmas tree industry

Featured Story

City Living, Features, holidays

How to say goodbye to your Christmas Tree: NYC’s Mulchfest

By Cait Etherington, Tue, December 24, 2019

Photo: NYC Parks / D. Avila

Not quite sure how to get rid of that Christmas Tree? From December 26 to January 11, NYC will be hosting its annual Mulchfest so that you can recycle your tree at a local park. With 67 total drop-off sites throughout the five boroughs—32 of which are chipping sites—it’s easier than ever to get your tree turned into mulch that will be used to help nourish trees and plants across the city.

How to participate this year

History, holidays

Image of the first Christmas tree in City Hall park in 1913; via Library of Congress

In 1912, the nation’s first public Christmas tree went up in Madison Square Park and sparked a new trend that would soon spread to parks across the city and beyond. The following year, acting Mayor Ardolph Kline initiated a similar tradition when he asked a young boy to help him light a Christmas tree in City Hall Park. By 1934, tree lighting celebrations became a citywide effort, with the Parks Department putting up 14 fifty-foot Norway Spruce trees throughout the city. Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia dedicated the trees from City Hall Park and broadcasted the ceremony to sites across the city.

Read more

holidays

Good luck finding a Christmas tree in NYC for under $75 this year; Photo by Billy Williams on Unsplash

A Christmas tree vendor in Manhattan is selling 20-foot Fraser firs for $6,500 each, most likely the most expensive evergreen in the city, the New York Post reported Sunday. Scott Lechner, the manager of Soho Trees, located near Canal Street, told the newspaper that the exorbitant prices aren’t slowing sales. “We’re sold out,” he said. The steep price tag includes delivery and installation.

More here

City Living, holidays

A Christmas tree stand at 6th Avenue and 14th Street. Image: 6sqft

Each year in December, scores of Christmas tree vendors descend on New York City from as far as Quebec to turn the city’s sidewalks into a virtual pop-up forest. What makes this seasonal opportunity so appealing? The “coniferous tree” exception, a City Council law dating from 1938, says vendors can sell and display Christmas trees on a sidewalk in December without a permit as long as they get an ok from adjacent building owners and they don’t block the sidewalk. Sellers lobby adjacent storefronts for permission, sometimes paying a fee and often in competition with other sellers. This year, as the New York Times reports, competition from chain stores–and other vendors jockeying for prime spots in parks and other public locations that come with high fees–are chopping into the profits for the army of tree sellers that descends on the city at holiday time. Costs get passed to consumers–and prices are soaring.

Why trees are demanding more green this year

Featured Story

apartment living 101, Design, Features, holidays

For traditionalists who relish the ritual of bringing home the perfect evergreen, the idea of any man-made alternative has little appeal. But just as many tree-seekers are happy to anchor their December decor with a Christmas tree that doesn’t shed and doesn’t need to be sent to the curb when the season’s over. The options are as varied as the reasons we love them: Some literally take up no space, perfect for tiny apartments. Others are perfectly modern, rustic, retro or Nordic to reflect the style of their owners. Below are 15 fun, festive, sustainable and re-usable alternatives to pine and fir.

deck the halls, this way

History, holidays, Madison Square

On December 21, 1912, a 60-foot-tall tree arrived by horse-drawn truck from the Adirondacks to provide Manhattan’s Madison Square Park with the glow of 2,300 colored electric bulbs. The twinklers were donated by the Edison Company, and the tree was the first of its kind: Having a Christmas tree in one’s living room was a familiar custom, but a tree outside in a public park was something new.

Get the whole history right this way

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.