16. Tompkins Square Park Tree

Tompkins Square Park Tree
Photo and entry copy contributed by reader Robin McMillan

The tree at Tompkins Square Park is a permanent specimen, a spruce that grows in the park year-round. It’s 50-something feet tall, Jack Spratt-scrawny, and more than a little crooked. It was planted in 1992, only eight feet tall at the time, but originally not to mark the Holidays. A local resident named Albert Favozzi and fellow members of the local Community Board planted it as a memorial to Favozzi’s partner Glenn Barnett, a victim of AIDS. Soon it became a memorial to all in the neighborhood who had died of AIDS, as well as a symbol of the neighborhood’s revitalization.

The annual tree lighting is accompanied by Carolers of Olde New York from the Theater for the New City dressed in period clothes, some wearing togs from the very first New York Public Theatre performances of the musical “Hamilton,” back in 2015. So the Tompkins tree does double duty: It keeps the Christmas spirit alive—while also memorializing those from the Lower East Side who unfortunately are not.

Next, check out Top 10 Secrets of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and 7 Dazzling Holiday Window Displays