O Christmas tree

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Photo: The Hip Girls

It’s officially the time of year when we can walk up Broadway and not smell that mystery subway smoke or car exhaust, when we can breathe deeply and smell one thing… Christmas trees! Each year major city sidewalks are lined with largely impromptu tree stands, each perfuming the surrounding space. There’s a lot of time, effort and energy that goes into bringing all of those trees into the city each winter, and it is interesting to explore the unique role that these trees play in New York.

The tree at Rockefeller Center. Photo: NewYorkGuest.com

For starters, the city has dozens of Christmas tree stands, and they tend to be concentrated in Manhattan. Each year, Gothamist puts out a Christmas Tree Vendor Map, and while it is far from being a complete list of vendors, it is interesting to see the lack of stands in large stretches of the outer boroughs.

It begs the question: “How do people get their trees from Manhattan to their homes/apartments?” As Gothamist notes, there is no official MTA policy against carrying your tree on the subway, although proper etiquette might dictate that you get the tree properly bound, try not to litter the floor with pine needles, and at least make an attempt not to move your tree through the tubes during rush hour. Obviously one could move a tree by car, but for most of the city’s residents who don’t own a car, that just simply isn’t an option. One solution would be to have your tree delivered. While this does take away from the experience of shopping and picking your own tree, it certainly would save you plenty of time, and if many trees are delivered at once, it could be more efficient than you think.

Christmas trees for sale on the street in Manhattan. Photo: NYCSunflower.wordpress.com

This time of year is always important to New York, and Christmas trees play a major role. Whether it’s Rockefeller Center or your own apartment, that woody source of the sights and smells of Christmas is as much a part of New York as you are. Who knows, maybe the German tradition of Christmas trees actually caught on as an American holiday tradition some time many years ago when someone saw someone else dragging a thick Douglas Fir down Broadway!


Click here for some tips on how to select a tree, protect your home from Christmas tree fires, and properly dispose of your tree after the holiday season.