Life in gardens: Madison Square

christmas-tree-madison-sq-garden-nyc-1913-bain-library-of-congressRaising the Madison Square Christmas tree, ca. 1912 or 1913, New York City, by Bain News Service, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (all photos here).

The park is located at Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street.

christmas-tree-2-madison-sq-garden-nyc-1913-bain-library-of-congress

Madison Square may have been* the site of the first illuminated community Christmas tree in America — lit on December 24, 1912.

christmas-tree-4-madison-sq-garden-nyc-1913-bain-library-of-congress

The tradition is continued today by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

Light is a dancer here and cannot rest.
No tanagers or jays are half so bright
As swarms of fire that deep in fragrance nest
In jungles of the gilt exotic night. . .

— John Frederick Nims, from “Christmas Tree


*There may have been two prior illuminated community trees: in San Diego in 1904 and Pasadena in 1909.

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