City Hall Park
The Daily Plant : Thursday, December 4, 2003
HOLIDAY SPIRIT LIGHTS UP CITY HALL PARK
On Tuesday, December 2, one of the coldest days of the season so far, hundreds of New Yorkers gathered to celebrate the lighting of the holiday display in City Hall Park. Some were passers-by on their way home from work, others were City officials, and others were children from the New York City Housing Authority Youth Choir. The Choir sang Christmas carols and Mayor Bloomberg was joined by Elf co-star Daniel Tay to flip the switch on the lights.
Target donated $35,000 to sponsor the holiday decorations in City Hall Park as well as in Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx and Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, which will be in place through February. Parks & Recreation designed the festive display of plantings in the Mould Fountain of City Hall Park. New Yorkers will enjoy a selection of winter plants decorating the fountain, with greenery including red dogwood, juniper, boxwood, spruce (known as Christmas trees), and white birch. Over 450 ornaments will hang from the display, created by students from downtown schools P.S. 1, P.S. 42, P.S. 234, and by children participating in free after school programs at Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center, Carmine Recreation Center, Hamilton Fish Recreation Center, 59th Street Recreation Center, Morningside Park Recreation Center, Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center, and Highbridge Recreation Center. White lights will brighten up the display and boughs will adorn light poles and the entrance to City Hall. Many thanks to all the Parkies and the Mayor’s Office of Special Events that helped with this year’s display and celebration. Thousands of New Yorkers pass through City Hall Park each day and will be dazzled by the trees and plants.
Though it was cold, attendees were warmed during the program with hot chocolate and donuts, generously donated by the Riese Organization. In addition to the singing, there were four elves, clad in bright tights and point hats, to entertain the audience. These New Yorkers took part in a long-standing tradition that 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.
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.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Without hope we live in desire."