Street Finds: Brooklyn Christmas edition


IMG_65855th Ave, South Park Slope and 7th Ave., Park Slope

Here’s the best thing about these little gems: I found them both on the same day. Also note the carolers in the background of the first photo. I suspect that casual observers will like the first photo best; a bike in wrapping paper is undeniably festive. But the second find is full of nuance that perhaps only New Yorkers will fully appreciate.

The second photo begs so many questions:

  1. Is this for real? As in, did someone actually lock up their tree stand so it wouldn’t be stolen while they ran errands?
  2. Did it originally contain a tree? There is a tiny tree stump that you can barely make out in this photo. Locked bikes with parts missing (I call them cannibalized bikes, although clearly other bikes aren’t doing the damage) are a common site in New York. A bike without a front wheel, a bike without handlebars, only handlebars. That’s how this reads to me: A cannibalized Christmas tree.
  3. If this is a joke, who is the genius who understood all of the above and installed this little piece of art?

A few of my favorite Christmas things

DSC_0003We really enjoyed our Christmas tree this year. This is the first Christmas we have spent alone, just the three of us), our first Christmas in New York and the first time we have ever gotten a real tree. For years we had a skinny little “natural” looking tree from Hobby Lobby that we loved with all our hearts, but small and scrawny as it was, we couldn’t justify storing it once we no longer had an attic or a basement (or a closet, for that matter), so it went to live with my in-laws, where we can still visit it when we go home. Because we left for three whole weeks last year, we didn’t get a tree, and I contented myself with hanging my garland of tiny elf clothes, which was almost enough.


But we missed our ornaments. Or at least I did. One of Jeff’s unique qualities is his almost total disregard for  keepsakes, at least in the abstract. The very items most people would save if their house was on fire are the things he periodically petitions me to throw away: the photo albums, the Christmas ornaments, etc.

Anyway, I ignored his early protests (that’s just what you have to do) and started trying to think of a way I could have a tree without having a whole tree in my house. I was contemplating something involving curly willow and branches leftover from Hurricane Sandy when this little guy found me at the farmers’ market. Right away I knew it was the most perfect tree I had ever seen. Actually, it is the most perfect tree I can imagine, and I am already sorry that it won’t last forever. It literally fell into my arms when I stopped to examine it. Look at how perfectly it fits on top of the subwoofer! Look at the way it reaches its little branch out toward the curtain! I love it! It was too little for lights, so we wrapped some at the bottom and covered them with cheesecloth to diffuse the glow.

Not all of our ornaments would fit, but the smaller ones did. Like this little shoe from Morocco:

DSC_0014Peter gave us this little red candle, and we got a pair of birds on our honeymoon in Mexico:DSC_0026

A couple of my ornaments, like the little hat and mittens, came from my old job at Oklahoma Living magazine, where we had an annual handmade ornament contest. We also have a few pretty things my mother-in-law has given us over the years. She has great taste in ornaments, like the snowman below.  DSC_0016


But wait … what’s that behind the snowman? Why, that’s my pride and joy. The best ornament to ever come out of the Oklahoma Living ornament contest and one of my favorite possessions of all time! Ladies, and gentlemen, I give you The Skunk Skull:


He is coated with pearlescent paint and has a little poof for a nose and a set of googly eyes.  He came in a bullet box. It took us two years to figure out what kind of skull he is. I’m not usually a fan of taxidermy or ghoulish things, but I do love people, Oklahoma and good stories, and for me The Skunk Skull and the bullet box he rode in on are the best of all those things.