BY GABRIELE HOLTERMANN
The second holiday tree lighting event in Hermon A. MacNeil Park in College Point on Saturday looked slightly different from the inaugural event, which had drawn a large crowd last year despite frigid temperatures. This year, while temperatures felt comfortable, COVID-19 limited the number of attendees to witness the celebration.
The event, held by New York State Senator John Liu in partnership with the Coastal Preservation Network, A Better College Point and NYC Parks & Recreation, was live-streamed on Facebook. Social distancing and face masks were required for in-person attendees.
For Liu, the holidays are his favorite time of the year, which, he admitted, will be somewhat different this year.
“We are still going to be happy, we are still going to be celebrating,” Liu said. “Unfortunately, tragically there will be some empty seats, but, nonetheless, it’s a time when we remember everything we went through in 2020, and I can’t wait until 2021. This holiday season is more meaningful than any other, and let’s count our blessings.”
For Kathryn Cervino, of the Coastal Preservation Network, the holiday tree on top of the hill overlooking the beautiful waterfront was like a beacon of hope and compared it to a bright light at the end of a year that was difficult for most.
“It’s going to be something very uplifting for the community, and hopefully, when we make it to the other side in 2021, it’s all going to be positive,” Cervino said.
It took Cervino’s husband, James Cervino, an entire day to adorn the tree with dozens of colorful light strings, which were funded by One Point of Light Foundation. The undertaking wouldn’t have been possible without the help of HSP Rentals, which donated the use of a bucket truck so Cervino could reach the top of the tree.
The lights will shine through Jan. 3, 2021.