The Tree Arrives at the Arch * Tree Lighting Ceremony Wednesday, December 7th; Washington Sq Music Festival Free Concert Fri. Dec. 2nd

The tree shortly after arriving

For the 85th year (by my calculation), the Washington Square Park Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on Wednesday, December 7th at 6 p.m. The tradition is older than the Rockefeller Center tree lighting! Music will be performed by the Rob Susman Brass Quartet which will lead the crowd in singing holiday songs and Santa Claus will appear. The tree will be lit every day between 4 p.m. and 1 a.m.

On Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24 at 5 p.m. the annual Christmas caroling will take place, again led by The Rob Susman Brass Quartet. It’s quite a sweet event!

The 45 foot tree and caroling song books are provided by the Washington Square Association, “one of the city’s oldest community organizations.”

In addition, this Friday night, December 2nd, there’s a free concert — IKONS, A Washington Square Music Festival Concert, Beethoven, Bellini, Tavener and Shostakovich — — at St. Joseph’s Church, 371 Sixth Avenue at Washington Place. Time: 8 p.m.

The Washington Square Music Festival offers iconic and eclectic music, both played and sung, by Festival artists soprano Lucia Hyunju Song, pianist David Oei, violinist Eriko Sato, and cellist Lutz Rath.

Trains: West 4th St stop on A, B C, D, E, F, M; Christopher St. stop on 1 train

Photo: Bill Spector

Holiday Events — Tree Arrives by the Washington Square Arch Monday, November 28th!

Last year's tree

More info on the holiday events at the Park to come but here are the basics:

Monday, November 28th Christmas tree arrives from Vermont by the Arch (at 4 a.m.!) (It’s unclear if it gets decorated that day but swing on by!)

Friday, December 2nd 8 p.m. Washington Square Music Festival Holiday Concert FREE in St. Joseph’s Church, 371 Sixth Avenue

Wednesday, December 7th 6 p.m. Tree-lighting ceremony & caroling

Saturday, Dec. 24th, 5 p.m. Christmas Eve Caroling

Washington Square Park Annual Tree Lighting Tuesday, December 7th & Caroling Friday, December 24th

Last year's ceremony - tree lighting under the Arch


Washington Square Tradition Older than Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting

Two Events: Tuesday, December 7th and Friday, December 24th, 2010

Washington Square Park will hold its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony under the Arch on Tuesday, December 7th at 6 p.m.  This will be the 84th year a tree has been lit. The Washington Square ceremony is one of the oldest tree lighting traditions in New York City, older than the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting! That annual tree lighting tradition began in 1931 making it 79 years old, five years younger.

After the tree is lit, song leader Mary Hurlbut, accompanied by the Rob Susman Brass Quartet, will sing holiday songs.  There will be a Santa Claus present. 

On Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24th at 5 p.m., swing by for caroling under the Arch, another annual tradition, led by the Rob Susman Brass Quartet.

The Washington Square Park Christmas tree – 45 feet tall! – will be lit in front of the Arch at Fifth Avenue between the hours of 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. throughout the holiday season until early to mid January.

Songbooks for the two events will be provided by the Washington Square Association which also donates the tree.  The Washington Square Association was founded in 1906 and is one of the city’s oldest community organizations.

Photo: Ken Howard