There is the expression: things are not as they appear.
That would apply to me as I made assumptions about an annual event in mid-town. Let me explain.
During the month of November, I photographed the installation and decorating of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. On two of the four days shooting, I witnessed a man organizing branches. I thought these branches were removed from the tree on purpose and would be disposed. (Similar to what we do with a home Christmas Tree.) Well let me tell you why I was wrong with my assumption.
The tree was to be up through January 7, 2014. Since it took four weeks to decorate, I figured it would take a few days to remove and I wanted to complete the documentation of this holiday tradition. To my surprise when I arrived early the morning of January 10, everything was gone. Camera in hand, I had nothing to photograph.
I walked down the stairs around the plaza by the ice rink and noticed a lovely cafe. This space had large glass windows overlooking the skaters. Living in the city for 8 years, I had never gotten this close to the ice.
On this morning it was oh so sweetly quiet. And it was very cold. I decided a cup of coffee at this rink side cafe would be a perfect way to begin my Friday.
I found the street level elevator and took it down to the Rock Center Cafe. The hostess sat me by the large windows overlooking the rink where 10 women were having a skating lesson.
When my waitress came over, I began inquiring about the tree. I asked her when did it all get taken down? She told me the crew swoops in under the cloak of darkness and in one night removes everything. By sunrise it is all back to normal-every last light, tree branch, angel is taken away. It was all done by January 8.
We continued talking as I told her of my photographing the weeks of decorating. She had some wonderful fun facts about the process. In addition to stringing lights on the tree, the men and women on the scaffolding rebuild the shape of the tree. In transport, many branches are broken off; during the decorating they add these lost branches back in.
So the man I saw organizing branches was not disposing them, but actually sorting them for placement. Things were not as they appeared.
She also told me one other fact about the disposal of the tree I didn’t know. In addition to the wood being milled for Habitat for Humanity, and over 3 tons of mulch being generated for the BSA, the largest portion of the trunk is donated to the U.S. Equestrian Team as an obstacle jump.
And so even though I didn’t get to photograph the taking down of the tree this year, I am smarter about what is involved in this annual tradition.
After our conversation, I enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee with my bagel. Topping this experience off, my friend brought me a complimentary raspberry hot chocolate.
The morning power breakfast was beginning as the corporate suits trickled in. It was time for this photographer in work-boots and baseball-hat to head out.
Oh, how I love this town.
Until next time.
adventure is life, live it! ®