My Favorite Christmas Tree

Gorgeous: the Christmas lights of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.

Gorgeous: the Christmas lights of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, not far from where I live now.

Don’t ask me why, but every year at this time I think of the tiny Christmas tree near the first job I ever had.

It was in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  I’d been born in Elizabeth, but that was more than two decades before I worked there.  By the time I had a little office in Hersh Tower, the city was down at heel, to put it mildly.

Yet there was this amazing little tree.

Why I have never forgotten it, I don’t know.  Subsequent New York City jobs were in walking distance of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  You’d think my first thought of a tree would be that one.

It isn’t.

It’s a little tree, not too well lit, that may – or may not – have been on East Jersey Street in Elizabeth.  I recall having found a small stationery/book shop that, I think, was on that street.  I know the tree was near the book shop, but this was all the way back in 1984, folks, and that’s all I know for sure.  I remember an evergreen tree that wasn’t much taller than I was, with bluish white lights, and somehow, with color red in there, too.  Green, blue-white, and red.  Was it red balls and white lights?  Was it red bows and white lights?  And where, exactly, was it?  A quick “tour” using Google Street View just revealed it couldn’t have been where I remember it.

Shops close, streets change, and parts of cities that are down at heel can be built back up again.  Elizabeth does look a whole lot better on Google Street View at this moment!


I saw that small tree when I was finally out working, had graduated college, was no longer “trapped” in a classroom every day, was earning money, and my life was my own.  I was, at last, “free.”  So…the memory of particular that little holiday tree lighting up its corner of Elizabeth, somewhere in the vicinity of Hersh Tower, remains my favorite one of them all.



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