December 3rd, 2002
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Hosts 89th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in City Hall Park
-Mayor Encourages New Yorkers To Take Advantage of City's Oldest Shopping District
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, students from PS 1 and PS 217, and teens from the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) Mentoring Program tonight lit the City Hall Christmas tree located in City Hall Park. This tradition began on December 24, 1913, when then acting Mayor Ardolph Kline invited a young boy to help him light the first Christmas tree at City Hall. This year's celebration paid tribute to the spirit of Lower Manhattan and following the lighting of the City's Christmas tree, attendees were shuttled by trolley to shop and dine at The Battery, South Street Seaport and the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center. Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, and Administration for Children's Services Commissioner William C. Bell also attended the tree lighting ceremony, and Charles Parker of the ACS Mentoring Program introduced the Mayor.
"Winter is a season filled with exciting activities and time-honored traditions, and the lighting of the Christmas tree in City Hall Park is one of them," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This year there is a renewed energy downtown as we continue to rebuild our City and revitalize its spirit. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the wide array of restaurants and shops in Lower Manhattan that are eager to serve you and offer great values that can warm the hearts of any holiday visitor. Happy holidays to you and yours, and I hope you'll join us in celebrating all that downtown has to offer."
The Department of Parks & Recreation designed the festive display of plantings in the Mould Fountain of City Hall Park, and the Christmas trees were decorated with hand-made ornaments made by students from PS 1, PS 42 and PS 217. Parks' Landscape Architect Gail Wittwer-Laird, Manhattan Forestry Director William Steyer, City Hall Park Gardener Richard Haughland and others worked collaboratively to create the holiday arrangement, which consists of tiers of Balsam Furs, Crab Apple trees, boxwood, and Winterberry and Evergreen holly. The display will change after the holidays but plantings will remain in the fountain until April when the water is turned on again. All of the plantings will be replanted in parks throughout the five boroughs.
During the program, attendees sipped hot chocolate and ate donuts, generously donated by the Riese Organization, while the New York City Housing Authority Youth Choir provided musical entertainment and the New York Goofs thrilled the crowds of holiday visitors with their antics and comedic tricks.
Afterwards, the Parks Department's "Broadway Shooting Stars" trolleys transported attendees to shop at three Lower Manhattan locations - The Battery, South Street Seaport and the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center. Talent Unlimited carolers entertained the crowds at the Christmas tree lighting at The Battery, which occurred simultaneously with City Hall's. The tree was adorned by thousands of origami cranes, a symbol of best wishes of hope and peace, donated by the Japanese American National Museum as an expression of solidarity with New York City.
In addition to a wide array of shopping opportunities at each location, holiday revelers were encouraged to take advantage of the over 30 downtown restaurants offering prix fixe dinners including Au Mandarin, Bayard's, Beckett's Bar & Grill, The Beekman, Captain's Ketch, Caracello Ristorante, 14 Wall Street Restaurant, Foxhounds, Gators Southern Seafood,Gerardi's Restaurant, Giovanni's Atrium, Harbour Lights, Harry's at Hanover Square, Johnney's Fish Grill, Les Halles Downtown, Michaels of Broadway, Moran's, Nathan Hale's Bar & Grill, Platinum Café, Quartino, Red, St. Maggie's Café, Spice Grill, SouthWest NY, Steamer's Landing, Stone Street Tavern, Suspenders, 2 West, Unity and Waterstone Grill.
The Mayor's Office would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous and spirited participation in this year's celebration: the Alliance for Downtown New York, Battery Conservancy, Battery Park City Authority, Century 21 Department Stores, The Flea Theater, Great Performances, J&R Music World, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York Goofs, New York CityStore, NYC & Company, Riese Organization, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, South Street Seaport, and the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center.
City Hall Park has played a key role in New York civic life for centuries from its Colonial beginnings as a rebel outpost to its current function as the seat of City government. In 1999 a $39.2 million project fully restored the park, adding a central walkway and gardens and replacing pavement with grass and trees. The Mould Fountain with its original granite base was returned to the park with a reconstructed centerpiece and lighting fixtures and a circular tablet at the southern end of the park was added to educate visitors about the history of the site.