Brooklyn Heights

Montague Street hosts 65th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony

December 17, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The 65th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony was held on Montague Street at the Promenade entrance. Pictured from left are Sally Webb, president of the Brooklyn Heights Garden Club; 6-year-old Lulu Jane O’Tyson; Peter Bray, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association; and America Williamson, coordinator of the tree lighting ceremony. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

In a Brooklyn Heights tradition that goes back 65 years, dozens of people gathered on Montague Street near the entrance to the Promenade to sing carols and watch a Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday night.

“I want to welcome everybody to the 65th annual tree lighting celebration,” said Peter Bray, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA). “On behalf of the BHA, I want to wish everybody a very happy holiday and a very happy, healthy and peaceful 2016.”

Community members gathered around the tree on Wednesday and sang a few Christmas carols, including classics like “Deck the Halls,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Jingle Bells.” After, Rev. Stephen D. Muncie gave a blessing for the tree before 6-year-old Lulu Jane O’Tyson, a sixth generation Brooklynite, pulled the switch to light up the tree.

“This is actually the first time we’ve ever been,” said Nancy Wilson, who brought her 8-year-old granddaughter Phoebe Neufeld to see the tree and meet Santa Claus. “We’ve been living in Brooklyn Heights since 1964 and we managed to miss this every year. We’re so glad we finally made it because it’s a beautiful tradition, and it’s so much fun to come out here to sing Christmas carols with everyone.”

The tree-lighting has been organized by the Brooklyn Heights Garden Club since the ceremony’s inception. This year’s event was coordinated by club member America Williamson. The trees are donated by the NYC Parks Department and co-sponsored by the Brooklyn Heights Casino.

 As is customary, a number of Montague Street businesses contribute to make the Tree Lighting a success. This year, those contributors included James Weir Floral Company, Lassen & Hennigs, Heights Cafe, Caffe Buon Gusto and Tango.

“This is such a beloved tradition and I love helping to coordinate it,” Williamson said. “It’s a great tradition that has been going on for 65 years, and I hope to see it go on for 65 more, although I won’t be coordinating it that long.”