Park Slope’s Fifth Ave. hosts New York’s first Christmas-tree lighting

At first light: Slope’s Fifth Ave. kicks off Christmas-tree-lighting season

Brooklyn Paper
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Let there be light: Aivek Kermialieve brought daughter Arwek to the tree lighting celebration on Saturday.
Tree man: A man donned a Christmas tree suit for the Christmas tree lighting.
Night light: Jen Hsiao and daughter Caitlin bask in the bright lights and holiday spirit.
Shining star: Stella Zaslavsky and adorable daughter Harper bundled up for the event.
Holiday with the family: Camila Mollano rode to Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue Christmas tree lighting atop dad Harry and alongside mom Pilar and brother Dominick.

It was just in the nick of pine!

Park Slope pulled the rug out from Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center by holding the city’s first Christmas-tree lighting event this year on Fifth Avenue Saturday, according to a local business leader.

“I’m fairly confident that we’re the first one,” said Mark Caserta, executive director of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District.

But lighting up the city’s first tree — in this case a 22-foot Douglas Fir — was merely a coincidence of scheduling the event for Small Business Saturday — a now six-year-old “holiday” created by bankers at American Express to promote shopping at local mom and pop retailers for the holidays, according to Caserta.

It is a big deal in Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue, which boasts one of the largest concentrations of small, independently owned businesses in the borough, Caserta claims.

“We’re the poster child for Small Business Saturday,” he said.

And he is not kidding — American Express’s “small business team” was on hand for the event with a film crew to record the event for promotional material, Caserta said.

Local residents say they also had a fine time at the holiday event, which featured free treats from avenue businesses the Chocolate Room, Du Jour Bakery, Bagel World, and Buttermilk Bakeshop, along with carolers, puppet theater, and Santa Claus, who cruised there in a vintage, top-down Cadillac.

“We had a good time,” said Bensonhurst resident Harry Mollano, who brought daughter Camila and son Dominick to the event. “It was a great vibe, a fun time, and we look forward to doing it every year.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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