Street Beat: Holiday Spirit

Sylvie Goldner, ‘21

What is Street Beat? Street Beat is a series of interviews with the people who make up our fast-paced, special city. Each article, (which is published in every newspaper issue), focuses on different people who add stories and moments to our lives. These people, however, are those who we don’t usually speak too, but take for granted. From people that take us to school, to a food vendor on our city street and a singer on the subway. All of these people are part of our daily routines, but we really know nothing about them. This series of articles is created to understand the perspectives of those who we encounter everyday, and who experience the world from a different pair of eyes and feet than our own.

Credit: Sylvie Goldner

Credit: Sylvie Goldner

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year. There'll be parties for hosting Marshmallows for toasting And caroling out in the snow There'll be scary ghost stories And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago”

As the turkey was finished and the apple pie was licked clean, with no hesitation commercials of Toyotas and Hondas with big red bows and snow enveloping the scene eagerly jumped into our TVs. Christmas immediately began to consume our lives with the jolliness of Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer and Let it Snow! A crisp coldness permanently settled, turning ears into icicles, turning BHSEC into a destination of warmth. Small squares of apartment windows gently glow, where the twinkle-lit Christmas trees rest, creating a winter fairytale aroma.

However, all of the festivities of the holiday would not be complete without the Christmas tree stands. The people who allow you to bring a beautiful pine tree into your home, are a large part of the soul of the Christmas spirit, enwrapped in the enthusiasm and magic of the holiday. And there is nothing more they enjoy than to spread this love.

Stretching out across 2nd ave and East Houston Street a magnificent Christmas tree stand can be seen, where the entire community goes to pick up large and dazzling trees. Two humorous and kind men work at this stand, and their names are Brian Marion and Richard Notholt. Brian and Richard are both from New York and before starting the interview Brian wanted to clear up a common misconception, “It is important to start this conversation by sharing that neither of us are from Canada. Just because the trees come from Canada does not mean that we are.” Brian and Richard started working at the stand due to their relationship with the family who owns it, Richard explained “We are very close friends with the family who owns this Christmas tree stand. Really, you can just consider us family.”

They then shared that they have been at this particular stand, on the same block for over 15 years, which is unbelievable. Richard shared that they have become a real part of the community, as the same customers return year after year who they have gotten to know: “People remember us every year they come back. We watch the kids grow up and get older. I remember when there was a newborn baby in their mother’s arms seven years ago, and once every year, I see the child and mother again, and I am able to watch the kid grow up. It is very special.” Brian excitedly added, “My favorite part of working here is the kids. When a child points to a particular tree, and state that that is the one they want, is truly the purpose of why Christmas trees are sold in the first place. Christmas is about the kids.”

And then I posed a very important question, one that many readers are also probably inquiring, which is: how do you work outside in the cold temperatures all day? Richard laughed and heartily responded “The answer is that I have so many pairs of pants on my thighs that I cannot even feel them anymore. You just have to dress in layers.”

I ended the interview asking if there is anything else they would like to share. Richard then sincerely and wholeheartedly exclaimed: “I hope everyone has a happy and healthy new year.” Brian then chimed in, “Because that is what Christmas really is, all about.”