NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — For the past two weeks, there has been a noticeable gap in the New Haven Green where a Christmas tree should be.
The first tree blew down in a wind storm, but they found a replacement, and now the rush is on to get all the lights on in time for the tree lighting.
Some thought it was the perfect metaphor for 2020. New Haven got one of the biggest Christmas trees ever, a majestic 70-footer, only to have it blown over and damaged in an intense wind storm. Limbs and lights were broken, all just two weeks after it was installed.
“Days afterwards, we had over 60 people reach out to donate trees via email and phone calls, and we found a beautiful tree that someone donated,” explained Mayor Justin Elicker (D-New Haven).
That tree comes from a home in Hamden. The owners did not want to be identified, but there was no missing the new tree and its police escort as it came all the way down Whitney Avenue Wednesday morning.
The replacement is half the size of the original, just 35 feet, which makes it much less vulnerable to wind gusts. Plus, the city will be taking extra precautions this time around.
“So, there were some cables that actually broke and so we’ll make sure that we have new cables because they were using some old cables, to make sure it doesn’t blow down,” Elicker said.
Also going up on the green today is the city’s giant Menorah. It is also being reinforced to make sure it does not blow down. The Festival of Lights starts next week, marking an ancient miracle at a time when we could sure use a modern one.
“Especially this year. We were in a year of darkness,” said Chabad member Berel Fayershpeyn, who was overseeing the menorah installation. “We’re all stuck at home, and we need to social distance and with masks, and the whole point right now is to bring light into the world.”
The tree lighting is scheduled for the first night of Chanukah, so both the tree and the menorah will light up for the first time this season on Thursday, Dec. 10.