Month: December 2011

Hidden Malcontents: New York’s Christmas Tree Industry

Scott Lechter, known as "Willie the Hat," operates Soho Trees at 6th Avenue and Spring Street in Manhattan, New York. Renting this land for more than $26,000 for the month, Scott and crew sleep in an RV parked adjacent the site. Soho Trees has been serving New York city for the last 22 years.

Once their signs are up and tree stands built, these yuletide vendors must carefully schedule their daily or weekly tree deliveries and conscript enough bodies to peddle the merchandise around the clock: snow or shine. For some, this can be an international operation, attracting workers from as far away as Canada and Australia. But while they all put on a merry face, the treemen have a history of bad blood and cutthroat business maneuvers.