Yes, our staff and I were ready for the WBID-sponsored Tree Lighting and Menorah Ceremony. The only problem was the weather was not ready for us. All day long Friday, there was a steady rain. This inclement weather reminded me of the year 2003 when we had a true snowstorm the night of our ceremony.
Our stage was stuck on the Interboro Parkway, and the only vehicle that made it through was the sound truck. So there we were, 100 hearty Woodhavenites gathered around our beautiful real Christmas Tree, with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and our Santa hats on singing carols and preparing to light our tree when a black SUV pulled up and out jumped Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
What a shock to all of us! Our own Mayor coming through a strong snowstorm to help us light our Christmas Tree in little Woodhaven. After the lighting of the Tree he stayed a while speaking to us and wishing us all Happy Holidays and all cheered him as he left. What a wonderful memory for us all.
So now it was still raining at 6:30 p.m. when our WBID-sponsored program started. In spite of the rain, we had 200 strong in attendance. As always, Loretta and her family were there front and center, as they have been every year, even during the snowstorm of 2003. It was good to see them there again.
The Color Guard from Franklin K. Lane H.S. presented the Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Then I made a statement regarding Hurricane Sandy and the destruction and sadness she brought to our Queens, especially with the destruction of our beautiful real Christmas Tree.
Then we spoke of Chanukah. The Menorah was presented, fully lit. All of the children delighted in the bright lights of the Menorah and said “Happy Chanukah.”
“Twas the Night Before Christmas” was recited by GWDC president Stephen Esposito, GWDC Board Member Paul Rudolph. In attendance were Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, Councilman Eric Ulrich and Leilani Blira-Koessler of Assemblyman Michael Miller’s Office.
The Christmas Mouse, The Christmas Rabbit, Frosty the Snowman, our old friend Rudolph, and the stars of the evening, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, were introduced. The countdown commenced by Santa so that we could light our Christmas Tree, which replaces our real Christmas Tree, that was named 4th Best Tree in the City by the Daily News.
Then our Christmas Tree, WBID’s gift to you, was lit. It was so good to see our little street tree, that was planted in the place of a Christmas Tree in error and stayed for the Tree lighting, all lit up looking beautiful.
A big thank you to our 102nd Precinct Commanding Officer and our 102nd Precinct police officers and the Auxiliary Police. All joined in singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Jingle Bells.” Requested was that everyone lift the red, white and blue glowsticks and our small American Flags that had been distributed in honor of our brave armed forces that are not with us this evening and are fighting for our freedom. Then I led in the singing of “God Bless America.” It was a great evening.
Don’t forget Santa, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman will be at Forest Parkway Plaza (weather permitting) taking free pictures with kids and distributing goodies on Saturdays, December 14 and December 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. Look for Santa again riding in his sleigh along Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue.
Also this year, we have our Woodhaven Trolley on Sunday, December 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. offering free rides along our Jamaica Avenue. Please shop Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue for the Holidays in Woodhaven.
Remember the WBID and the GWDC also have gifts for your consideration. We have an original miniature Woodhaven Flag suitable for window display. Also a gift in recognition of the GWDC’s accomplishment in the landmarking of our Forest Park Carousel by the noted and accomplished artist Constance Del Vecchio Maltese, who has contributed replicas of her painting of a beautiful carousel horse, “The Forest Park Beauty”. These two unique Woodhaven gifts are fundraisers and are priced at $12 for the flag, and $5 for the painting. Call (718) 805-0202 for more info.
In my next article I will give your highlights from our Welcome Santa to Woodhaven Parade. Also, Saturday, December 7, was the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing, “a day that will live in infamy.”
May God bless the brave honorable men and women of our armed forces fighting for our way of life, especially at this time of year so far away from home. May God bless our America.