Cardboard Christmas tree gets mixed reviews in New Jersey City
Every year, workers install a large, freshly cut evergreen tree in a historic building in Asbury Park, New Jersey, to celebrate Christmas. The Grand Arcade at Convention Hall rises above the Town’s Promenade, a walking path along the Atlantic Ocean.
But recently, workers installed a very different Christmas tree in the arcade. Unlike evergreen foliage, it requires little care and can never die. This is because the 2021 Christmas tree is made entirely of a thick and durable paper material called cardboard. At the end of the winter holidays, the “tree” is to be recycled.
The creators of the tree sought to honor elements of the natural environment, cityscape, and rich musical history of Asbury Park.
Reviews of the tree are mixed.
“I like it to be different… It’s quite interesting,” said local man Chris Trifari. He lives in Neptune, a nearby town.
Local Elizabeth Khimich gave similar praise. “I think it’s very creative. She had come to the Grande Arcade to take pictures of her dogs in front of the tree.
Others on the walk were not so happy with the tree.
Anthony Solimando said he looked “like an Amazon wrap. ”
“Not a fan,” added Amy Mackey. “Asbury has conformed in this artistic city, but tradition is tradition! It’s art, and I wouldn’t take a picture of my child in front of this tree. Can’t we just have our traditional tree? ”
The change came this year when the city’s arts community reached out to Madison Marquette, the private owner of the promenade in Asbury Park. They asked about creating a Christmas tree sculpture for Convention Hall, said Austin Leopold, the property manager.
Léopold declared the real estate company “passionately embraced ‘the idea of sculpture. He said it honored the promenade’s image as the center of Asbury Park’s arts and music community.
Michael Lavallee, a local artist named Porkchop, created the piece with Brad Hoffer. They call it the tree that gives.
He said the company told him there would be no natural Christmas tree at Convention Hall this year.
“I was asked to come and do something festive,” Porkchop said. Festive means festive, especially in the context of a public holiday.
Porkchop has said he doesn’t want to take away anyone’s Christmas tree. He added, “If you’re not going to give people the big tree they want, some of them are going to hate it. I understand that. But they weren’t going to have that traditional Christmas tree anyway.
The piece uses natural materials and artificial lighting to darken some parts of the tree while illuminating others. This way, the look of the room changes throughout the day.
Amy Quinn is the Deputy Mayor of Asbury Park. Quinn said the city is not involved in the decisions of Convention Hall, but loves the play.
“I love the hold the local artists had on the tree,” she said. “I like it to be different. Love it or hate it people are talking about it.
I am John Russell.
Wayne Parry reported on this story for The Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in this story
wrap – not. a box or large envelope that is sent or delivered generally by post or other delivery service
comply – v. do what others do: behave in a way most people agree to
passionately – adv. having, showing or expressing strong emotions or beliefs
artificial – adj. not natural or real: made, produced or made to look like something natural