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
Photo by Anton on Unsplash
A state lawmaker wants to allow more street vendors to legally set up shop across New York by lifting the cap on the number of permits issued statewide. The legislation put forth by State Sen. Jessica Ramos, who represents parts of Queens, would let municipalities decide where sidewalk vendors could operate. “The idea is to decriminalize street vending and do away with caps so that every vendor goes through the appropriate inspections,” Ramos told Gothamist.
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The annual competition celebrating New York City street vendors will end this fall after 15 years. The last Vendy Awards ever will be held on Governors Island on September 21, providing one last chance to enjoy one of the city’s greatest food events. The competition, organized by the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, launched with just four vendors in 2005. It has since grown to feature vendors from across the city, serving nearly two thousand hungry foodies annually, and becoming a career launch pad for vendors.
Photo via Megan Morris/Flickr
Before the end of her tenure on Dec. 31, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is making an eleventh-hour push for legislation aimed at expanding the city’s food vending industry. As Politico New York reported, the bill adds 335 more licenses for food vendors over 10 years, with 35 set aside for veterans. Currently, there are 5,100 licensed food vendors in the city. While the bill’s passage could be a victory for immigrant workers, many who make a living working on food trucks or carts, although sometimes on the black market, critics say increasing the number of permits allowed for rent-free vendors could hurt brick-and-mortar shops.
Find out more
- Women Street Vendors Serve Up A Labor of Love: In ethnically-diverse low-income neighborhoods, you’ll notice that most of the street vendors are women. Listen in on WNYC’s podcast about the history of women vendors and the native South American foods they sell.
- SunBeamer Shines Light Into Dark City Buildings: Most buildings in the city don’t have floor-to-ceiling windows that let in the natural light. Gizmodo featured Sumbeamer, these cool devices that track light into city buildings that are blocked by skyscrapers from getting sunlight.
- Did You Hear About This Cool New Thing? You Can Get Abducted!: Starting tomorrow you can join in on a workshop that’ll teach you some survival skills like picking locks and opening handcuffs. But that’s not even even the fun part; they’ll test you on these newly-learned skills by abducting you. Sound like fun? Check out the details on Gothamist.
- Being Looked After By A Robot Is Becoming More of a Reality: Henry the robot is a temp working in a nursing home in Vienna and he has two jobs: patrolling and interacting with the seniors. Read more about robots in workplaces and homes on Quartz.
Images: Henry the robot and his friend by Ludwig Schedl for APA via Quartz (left); Rift Recon Flickr (right)