2012-12-14 / Top Stories

Christmas Tree Stirs Up Controversy

By Howard Schwach

The Christmas Tree at Shore Front Parkway and Beach 96 Street. The Christmas Tree at Shore Front Parkway and Beach 96 Street. Only in Rockaway could a donated Christmas tree cause a controversy.

The tree, meant to lift the spirits of dispirited local residents in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, was supposed to be put in a central location in Rockaway, in a “plaza-like” space where it could be admired, those who donated the tree told the New York Post.

Instead, city officials ordered it set up in an “unsafe” spot along the devastated Shore Front Parkway at Beach 96 Street, they say.

Brett Scudder, the local activist who persuaded a nursery to donate the tree told The Post that he had cleared the effort with the Parks Department, but when the tree was delivered, Parks Department officials told them to put it up on the opposite side of the parkway.

Locals, however, say that the tree is in a perfect spot, the area that was once the home of Whalemina, the iconic decorated statue that became “Rockaway’s Mascot.”

Parks officials say the tree will remain at its present location.

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