Washington Square Christmas Tree Arrives at the Arch Monday, December 2nd! Tree Lighting Ceremony December 11th | Some History



Photos above from 2012 Tree Lighting

The Christmas tree under the Arch arrives this year from Vermont Monday, December 2nd. The 45 foot tree will be dropped off and propped up at the Park at 4 a.m. so you can welcome it if you get up reallly early! The Washington Square Park Christmas Tree Lighting Tradition is older than the Rockefeller Center tree lighting. It’s like the 100th zillionth time the Washington Square Association — okay, actually the 89th year — has presented the Christmas tree and “sponsored” carol singing under the Arch. This year there are two opportunities – Wednesday, December 11th, when the tree will be lit, and Tuesday, December 24th.

In the early days, the tree was planted IN the Park! That would be a nice “tradition” to return to. There is space, since so many trees haven’t survived the construction at the Park, particularly around the Fountain. There is even a relatively recent spot open where the Linden tree was. This would be better than the mass cutting down of trees for short-term use, no? In 2011, 30.8 million trees were cut down for Christmas.

Also, the words to the carols used to be projected on the Arch! This would save trees too (no song books needed) and would be great to bring ‘back’ as well.

Last year, it surprised me, that, after the tree was lit and the ceremony had ended, all these little donation slips were left all over the Fountain Plaza.

These photos are from 2012.

At Washington Square Park:

Christmas Tree Lighting & Caroling: Wednesday, December 11th, 6 p.m.

Christmas Eve Caroling: Tuesday, December 24th, 5 p.m.

p.s. More posts coming today shortly soon!

Update: I was going to post another Private Conservancy Watch piece but I feel like it would be better to wait. So check back!

Photos: Cathryn

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2 thoughts on “Washington Square Christmas Tree Arrives at the Arch Monday, December 2nd! Tree Lighting Ceremony December 11th | Some History”

  1. The growing and chopping of all those trees always seems wasteful in an environmental sense…but the whole ritual has become such an economic juggernaut during this season it’s hard to imagine that changing anytime soon.

    However, projecting the lyrics of Christmas carols on the Arch again is obviously long overdue. You can even imagine the kind of publicity it could attract — a hook for news stories saying “this idea may seem very modern and high tech, but in fact it dates all the way back to 1924!” The Washington Square Association should seriously consider this for next year.

    (They should also consider not handing out paper leaflets with a web address on them…)

  2. Hi Richard,

    You’re totally right that the “whole ritual has become such an economic juggernaut.” But in a park, this could certainly be changed. It would also send a message that would also get publicity and other places would follow. One tree at a time…

    And I like that idea about the publicity that could be generated with the projecting of the carols on the Arch. It’s true with Occupy Wall Street (and of course others) using high technology for projections, and then also being able to draw on the historic precedent, that could work to everyone’s benefit. It would really ‘up’ the profile of the event too because of the resulting publicity. You framed it perfectly.

    I had in the past attempted suggestions to Wash Square Association, and, at the time, I was told they like the ceremony the way it is. However, that was not with regards to the tree or the potential of projecting lyrics for the carols on the Arch.

    Re: web address on paper leaflets, I agree! The organization does ‘use’ the Christmas events to get their name out there to solicit donations but it would probably be just as effective to repeat the web address at the event based on the # of these that were left behind. (And then leaving the behind was very strange.)



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