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This time of year, New York's concrete jungle feels a little bit greener, thanks to all the sidewalk Christmas tree vendors setting up shop around town. They come from places like Vermont and Canada to sell their wares to New Yorkers for whom greenspace is a rare and precious commodity, blanketing sidewalks with that distinctive pine tree scent that signals the arrival of the holidays.
[This story originally ran in 2015, and was updated in 2016.]
A documentary, aptly titled Tree Man, follows the story of François, who for five weeks each year leaves his wife and small children in Quebec to live in a van on the Upper West Side.
The film's director, Jon Reiner, tells the New York Times that he wanted to explore the temporary work subculture that takes over the city every year, one that in a way highlights the neighborhood-iness of the city. (Everyone has a preferred vendor, it seems; Francois, in fact, happens to have been our editor's "tree man" for years.)
Here's a peek at the film:
And if you're planning on buying a tree this year—from a sidewalk vendor or someone else—we suggest you take a look at our tips on Christmas tree safety. And bookmark our advice on how to dispose of your tree for the end of the season.
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