Tag Archives: Christmas tree lighting

The Christmas Spirit in Howard Beach


| mchan@queenscourier.com


Dozens of doe-eyed children craned their necks to gaze up at the unlit 30-foot tree, each hoping to be the one to flick the switch this year.

And when they were all chosen to collectively light the largest Christmas tree in Howard Beach, it might as well have already been December 25 for Mario Faulisi, president of the Howard Beach Columbus Day Foundation Inc.

“Just to see their smiles waiting to light the tree, it’s like having a kid open a toy on Christmas,” said Faulisi, who has sponsored the tree lighting at St. Helen’s for the last five years. “It’s amazing, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Howard Beach residents gathered outside of St. Helen’s School on Saturday, December 3 to watch the neighborhood’s traditional Christmas tree burn bright for the first time this holiday season.

For Howard Beach resident Linda Vitti, the tree lighting meant escaping the world for a while with her granddaughter.

“I live here, but I’ve never been here before,” she said. “It’s really nice. It’s beautiful, and it makes me feel happy and forget about what’s going on in the world.”

For others, the tree lighting marked the start of a joyous holiday season.

“It’s a good beginning for a good Advent. It’s good preparation for Christmas,” said Monsignor Joseph Pfeiffer of St. Helen’s Parish, who stood staring at the ornamented tree — adorned with hundreds of multicolored lights — even after the crowd had all gone home. “This tree is beautiful. They really did a great job,” he said.

The tree – located at 83-09 157th Avenue – will be on display throughout the holiday season into the New Year. It took three men, two days and one bucket truck — though no partridge in a pear tree — to dress up.

“It means a lot for the community and the kids,” said tree decorator John Plunkett. “It’s just an awesome feeling. I look forward to this every year,” he said.

Bayside kicks off holiday season


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Michael Pantelidis

Bayside residents and community leaders rang in the holiday season by lighting up the neighborhood.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) and Bayside Business Association (BBA) hosted their annual Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting ceremony on November 29 at the BBA headquarters, located at 41-16 Bell Boulevard.

“This marks the start of the holiday season for Bayside,” said Judith Limpert, president of the BBA. “It is a beautiful village atmosphere here. I think today we are all way too dispersed and focused on things that aren’t relevant. Community and family are very important. We also hope to get people to understand that Bayside has a beautiful shopping strip. They should come here first, because they can probably get everything they need for their holiday shopping. The point of this event is to attract Baysiders to come out.”

Holiday lights were also recently installed by the Bayside BID above all the blocks of Bell Boulevard.

“This event only comes once a year, and it really is the beginning of the holiday season and the biggest season for businesses and restaurants here on Bell Boulevard,” said Gregg Sullivan, executive director of the Bayside BID. “Events like this and our street lights really improve business enormously and highlight Bayside.”

The neighborhood organizations were joined at the event by Councilmember Dan Halloran, Assemblymember Edward Braunstein, Father Brosnan from Sacred Heart Church, Father Byrnes from All Saints Episcopal Church and of course, Santa Claus.

“The celebration of light over darkness is what these holidays are all about,” said Halloran. “These lights symbolize that.”

During the ceremony, visitors were serenaded with Christmas carols, and children had the opportunity to tell Santa what gifts they wanted waiting for them under their tree this year. After the lighting, attendees were invited out of the cold and inside the BBA headquarters for hot chocolate and snacks.

“This is a wonderful event for [my goddaughter] to see the tree with all of this nice lighting,” said Rose Lynch, a Bayside resident for 45 years, who brought her goddaughter, Ashley, to the lighting ceremony. “It is a nice introduction to the holidays with spirit. I think this is a cute idea to come and meet Santa in a unique way, which is individual and small. It is delightful.”