It’s a beloved holiday tradition.
Hundreds welcomed the Christmas season by illuminating a tree at Our Lady of Perpetual Help basilica on Dec. 1. The Sunset Park Business Improvement District — representing merchants along the Fifth Avenue corridor — hosted the yearly Yuletide and ushered in the season by lighting its Christmas tree for the 16th year in a row. It was a dazzling display, said one local who stumbled into the festivities.
“It was really exciting,” said Victor Tenisaca, who came out with his pug Shiloh. “I was walking my dog when we saw the celebration. We stopped to take pictures with Santa and listen to music. It was really nice. It got us in the Christmas spirit.”
The Our Lady of Perpetual Help School Choir sang carols to kick off the ceremony, and a trio of Sunset Park High School students modeled gowns by local dress shop Anay’s Boutique’s to bring something new to the annual event. Santa Claus was on hand, too, listening to kids’ Christmas wishes and handing out goodie bags with candy canes, festive pencils, and stickers.
The arbor illumination was a big hit and brought the community closer together, said one local.
“It really was a great community event,” said Julixa Campusano, owner of Anay’s Boutique and a member of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District. “It’s giving back to the community and having a little free entertainment is always nice.”