Warning about invasive insect isn’t bugging buyers of Christmas trees

A Christmas tree stand outside Augustus-St. Gaudens Playground (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Despite a warning from Senator Charles Schumer that an invasive insect might be infiltrating Christmas trees in the New York area, people shopping for trees this week didn’t seem too worried about the bugs dampening their holiday spirit.

Schumer warned that the bug, called the spotted lanternfly, could be a threat to natural resources in open spaces like Central Park and leafy neighborhoods. The insect, could be hitching a ride from trees brought in from out of state and the senator expressed concern about the effect the destructive bug could have on trees in local parks and threatening New York’s agricultural health.

George Smith, who has been running the Parks-operated trees stand outside the Augustus-St. Gaudens playground on Second Avenue between East 19th and 20th Streets for the last 12 years, said that he heard about bugs from an article in the Daily News earlier in the week but customers haven’t asked him about it.

“The tree bugs don’t really affect people so nobody’s really said anything or noticed,” Smith said.

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Stuy Town Christmas tree lighting

On Saturday, about 70 Stuy Town residents gathered at the Oval fountain for the annual Christmas tree lighting. Christmas Carolers kicked off the evening before the arrival of Santa Claus who led a countdown to the tree lighting with a “ho, ho, ho.”

Guests enjoyed free cookies and hot chocolate and cider and also picked up free necklaces and stuffed reindeer toys. Children got to take pictures on Santa’s lap nearby in the Oval Studio.

A Menorah lighting will take place on December 28.

Photos by Maya Rader

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Pictured:

Santa with Peter, a two-year-old resident