With Christmas trees laying all around him, Courtney Newman stood in a small lot on North Broad Street yesterday doing his best polar bear impression.
“I got on Victoria’s Secret long johns, basketball shorts, jeans,” said Newman, posted near a sign that read “Andy’s Trees.” His slender frame was swallowed up by seven layers of hoodies and thermals he wore under his coat to stay warm.
Despite the arctic chill blanketing the East Coast, Newman and other seasonal vendors have set up shop along Broad Street looking to capitalize on the country’s biggest holiday. Stands have popped up at Lindley Avenue and Huntingdon.
Eliezer Beauchamp, who operates “Andy’s Trees” and a second stand at Glenwood Avenue, said business has not been as brisk as in years past, but he is optimistic things will pick up.
“This year is pretty slow and I think it’s because we only have three weekends before Christmas since Christmas is on a Saturday,” said Beauchamp, adding that he has city permits and also sells merchandise for Valentine’s Day. “The economy has also hit everybody hard.”
Not time for recycling
Those pine trees have taken up much more space in city dumps since 2005, when the city eliminated curbside pickup as part of the Streets Department’s annual “Christmas tree recycling program.”
That year, the city collected 62,500 trees, Streets Deputy Commissioner Carlton Williams said, but the number has dropped into the hundreds since.
For more information about how to recycle your tree this year, go to www.phila.gov/streets/ChristmasTrees.html.