10 December 2007

Merry Christmas From the Stevedores

One of my favorite harbingers of the holidays has long been the odd and unexpected Christmas display that appears every year on a lonely block of Van Brunt Street, on the grounds of the Red Hook cargo dock. It's a makeshift, but fairly large manger display, complete with all the figures associated with the birth of Jesus, topped by a largest cursive message in lights reading "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year." I assume it's the work of the stevedores union. It's the loneliest beacon of holiday cheer you'll ever see.

American Stevedoring certainly has reason to have a Merry Christmas this year. After years of trying to push the maritime crowd out, the City has recently backed off its plan to install more cruise line facilities where Brooklyn's last remaining cargo terminal now rests.

Perhaps this new ray of hope has encouraged them to bump up the display a bit this year. Instead of being situated on an obscure entry road to the docks, the display is now right near the edge of Van Brunt, where anyone in a car or on the B61 can see it. It also seems taller and more expansive somehow. And a bit addition is large, 10-foot electric menorah set off to the side. That definitely wasn't there before. Talk about your inclusiveness! Christmas really does make the heart grow bigger—even those of stevedores!

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