Meet Your New York Christmas Tree Vendors

All photos by Natalie Fertig for the Village Voice.
Photographer Natalie Fertig wraps up the Christmas tree-selling season by talking to New York's sidewalk vendors, many of whom hail from north of the border, work shifts that last much of the day, and sometimes sleep in a van. There are benefits, too: the travel, after-hours camaraderie, drinks, and, if you're on the Upper West Side, a smörgåsbord of dinner options from the people who live in the buildings around you.

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SantaCon Hires Civil Rights Lawyer to Pursue Official 'Parade' Status for Annual Bar Crawl

Categories: Holidays

Jena Cumbo for the Village Voice
SantaCon may have degenerated from performance art to wasted merry mob, but organizers pledged Wednesday to rescue the notorious bar crawl from infamy and turn it into an official parade.

"Santa" (New York SantaCon's anonymous organizer) has hired famous civil rights lawyer Norm Siegel to help transform SantaCon into a well-organized march sanctioned by the city.

The announcement followed weeks of backlash against the 30,000-Santa daytime drunk-fest, including a boycott that shut down the event in Bushwick.

See Also: Ho, Ho, Bro: How Santacon Went From Joyful Performance Art to Hedonistic Bar Crawl

"While this event will always poke fun at society and the overly-commercialized aspects of the holiday, Santa and the Elves are working closely with city officials, the Parks Department and NYPD on better formats to manage the event while growing it as a much beloved annual tradition for the city," Santa wrote in his email announcement.

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Hillary Clinton's Head and 9 Other Cyber Monday Gift Ideas You Must Buy Immediately

Categories: Holidays, Shopping

Pinky Guest
The price on Hillary Clinton's head is a cool 10 bucks.
So you powered through another Thanksgiving with nothing to show for it but a low-level hangover, snug AF pants, and some "educational" brochures from your creationist cousin. Now you probably have 30 tabs open looking for a better deal on a personal drone that your dad will use once and then throw in the junk room (a/k/a your childhood bedroom). But you needn't waste your time perusing Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart's online sales to find the best bang for your holiday buck. It turns out New Yorkers have a ton of shit they want to get rid of. And it's a helluva lot more interesting than anything considered among the hottest holiday gift trends for 2014. So here's the first official Village Voice Cyber Monday Shopping Guide for People Looking for Other People's Unwanted Treasures:

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Ten Significant Moments in the 90-year History of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Categories: Holidays

Photo credit: martha_chapa95 via Compfight cc
2014 marks 90 years since the beginning of what is arguably the most anticipated entertainment of Turkey Day (second only to the wishbone battle): the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. And while some aspects of the national spectacle have remained since its 1924 debut -- from its sky-high floats to its Herald Square finishing point -- others have appeared throughout the years to serve as direct reflections of their respective time periods. Here are just a few of the beloved event's most notable -- and era-defining -- moments:

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Soup Kitchens on Thanksgiving: Surplus of Volunteers, Needs Everywhere Else

Social Security Administration
Most days, the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in Chelsea gets about 50 volunteers, sometimes as much as 70. This Thanksgiving, they will have more than a hundred, all of whom signed-up far in advance. The first-come-first-serve list filled up weeks ago, and the kitchen has had to turn away "hundreds" of prospective volunteers since, says Rev. Rev. Glenn Chalmers, the program's executive director.

"Everyone seems to want to volunteer at the holidays," he says.

Spending Thanksgiving serving the needy is a tradition embedded deep within American cultural psyche. A sitcom cliche. A universal symbol for gratefulness. It is a pleasant tradition.

But it also leads to an inefficient distribution of our collective good will.

"with the holidays it's when we get all the media and the volunteers, but we're here all year," says Chalmers.

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Beat Hunger! Where to Donate Food and Time This Thanksgiving

Categories: Holidays

Photo Credit: patti haskins via Compfight cc
After weeks of gravy-soaked fever dreams, Thanksgiving is finally upon us. Many of us will enjoy the holiday in the company of family and friends around a big old dinner table. We should count ourselves lucky. Over 2 million New Yorkers are food insecure, meaning their access to healthful meals, during the holiday season or not, is uncertain. It's a full-blown crisis, brought into sharp relief during a time of year when those more fortunate of us are busy slamming our faces with mash potatoes and large fowl. So what is there to do? The Voice has rounded up some food charities around the city where one can volunteer or simply donate any time of the year.

Our list is by no means exhaustive; if there is a charity or program that you feel bears mentioning, leave us a link in the comments. Those we have listed do just a fraction of the good work happening all over the city. After you've un-buttoned your pants from too much cherry pie, the Voice encourages you to roll up your sleeves and help beat hunger in New York City.

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Cardinal Dolan Comments On Contraception Politics

This Easter Sunday was not free from politics and controversy for Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who in addition to giving a sermon at Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral today, appeared in a segment that aired on CBS' Face The Nation. In the interview Dolan weighed in once again on the nation's contraception debate and the president's coverage mandate. "I don't think religion should be too involved in politics," he said. "But I also don't think the government and politics should be overly involved in the church. And that's our problem here. You've got a dramatic, radical intrusion of a government bureaucracy into the internal life of the church. That bothers me."

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NYPD Officers Injured In Brooklyn Shootout; Two Arrested in Tulsa; Easter Parade Comes To Fifth Avenue

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Four police officers were injured in Sheepshead Bay early this morning in a shootout with a man who had shut himself after a dispute with moving company employees. The officers -- two of whom were shot in the calf, one who was shot in the thigh and ankle and another whose face was grazed -- were not seriously injured. The man, 33-year-old Nakwon Foxworth, barricaded himself in his sixth-floor apartment along with his pregnant girlfriend and 4-month-old son after threatening the moving company employees, one of whom called the police, with a gun. When Foxworth's wife and son escaped, police entered and the shooting broke out. "We're not certain about what the fight was about," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, according to the New York Daily News. "Obviously (Foxworth) was very hyper to say the least. He had a dispute with his lady friend and told her she couldn't leave. And when she just left and left the door open, he started shooting." [NYDN, CBS New York]

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Christians And Jews Partake In Holiday Celebrations; Lottery Winner Comes Forward in Kansas; Tugboat Capsizes Near Liberty Island

Both Christians and Jews are observing holy days over the weekend. Cardinal Timothy Dolan participated in the Good Friday Way of the Cross procession across the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday. The march began after a ceremony at Brooklyn's Cathedral Basilica of St. James. Today he will be at the Church of St. Stanislaus on East Seventh St. for the blessing of the food for Easter Sunday breakfast. In Texas new New York Jet Tim Tebow will deliver a sermon on Easter Sunday. Meanwhile Seders took place across the city -- even at Madison Square Garden -- Friday night as the Jewish holiday of Passover began at sundown. Passover lasts for eight days. [NYDN, NYT, NY1 ]

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Some April Fools' Jokes For the End of April Fools'

April Fools' is just darn frustrating. As a studier of the Internet, you have to be constantly on guard. With every word you read and link you click on you must think, "could this really ridiculous story be real? Or is it a product of someone's imagination?" So, as the most annoying holiday of the year -- especially for the gullible -- draws to a close, we present you a compilation of some of the notable April Fools' gags we saw on the Web today. Some are funny, some are confusing and some are clunkers. We invite you to guffaw or scoff for yourself. Enjoy.

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