Christmas trees piled on the New York waterfront

“A shipment of Christmas trees unloaded on the New York City waterfront,” reads the caption to this haunting 1924 photo, from the New York Public Library digital collection.

Within hours, they were likely picked up by tree peddlers, then sold to New Yorkers who placed them in their living rooms . . . only to be taken back to the side of the road after December 25.

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6 Responses to “Christmas trees piled on the New York waterfront”

  1. Sean Says:

    My friend used to sell Christmas trees on the UES in the 70s and 80s. He would buy them from a guy called “Whitey”, who every year had a huge pile of Christmas trees like this where parking lots used to be located directly underneath the elevated West Side Highway, near the current Pier 40 at Houston Street.

    Although the highway was deconstructed by this time, cars would still pay to park there, underneath the ghost of the elevated highway, in the middle of what is now West Street, where there is currently a truncated planted median. At Christmas, Whitey would take over dozen of parking spots and sell his huge inventory of trees, wholesale and retail.

    One year at midnight, I took my girlfriend to the spot to show her the huge pile of trees. Whitey was nowhere to be found. That was common. My friend told me that he would use these opportunities of Whitey’s absence to abscond with trees from him without paying.

    So, my girlfriend and I began to climb the huge pile of trees. When we got to the top, we lay down, began to make out, and eventually would up making love on huge pile pile of trees in the middle of West Street, as cars drove by us, unaware of what was going on on top of the tree pile just feet from them.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Now that sounds like a thrilling New York Christmas!

  3. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    What a neat memorable Christmas that would be! Hold on to that memory, very few have those. I love it!

  4. The Devoted Classicist Says:

    I love this time of year in Manhattan, with the fragrant smell of tree vendor’ wares crowding the sidewalk. After Christmas, my neighbors in Greenwich Village would strip the limbs of the discarded trees to use as mulch for the street trees.

  5. Lisa Says:

    That IS a great story, Sean (!)–

  6. Anyone still need a tree? « Queens Says:

    […] 1924 photo of waterfront Christmas tree shipment from Ephemeral New York. […]

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