Friday night, Soho and Hudson Square neighbors mingled at the small plaza near Prince and 6th Ave. in anticipation. While quiet rumors had whispered, “Santa has been cancelled!” It just wasn’t true!
At 5:30 sharp, the ladder fire truck drove from Houston Street, down 6th Ave. making a U-turn, to timely deliver Santa in front of Father Fagan Park.
Al Di Raffaele, whose upper floor apartment looks directly down on the park, was inspired three years back to organize a neighborhood holiday fete including bringing a tree into the park to light. Parks Department gets in on the act providing the tree, lights, and electrical hook-up.
The neighborhood’s local firehouse, so integral with the community, provides Santa and his transportation—his third annual tree lighting went on without a hitch. Scaled back last year due to COVID, the lighting ceremony was live-streamed
The original Santa from three years ago, Lt. Tom Breslin, who is retiring after 20 years, revived his role. “Last year, we had someone else, to break him in.” Lt. Tom said. “But I knew this would be my last year, so I was Santa this year,” he added, grinning.
When asked: Where does the Santa suit live? Lt. Tom said, “In the firehouse. We have a party for the firefighters and their families before Christmas and Santa will be there too.”
At the Father Fagan Park fete, Santa gave candy canes to the children.
Smoozing on a seasonably warm evening, neighbors sipped delicious hot chocolate, so happy to be able to socialize again.