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What it’s like to sell Christmas trees on the streets of New York City



Christmas Tree vendors, new york citySarah Jacobs/Business Insider

  • Christmas tree vendors always pop up around New York City after Thanksgiving.
  • The Gilmartins are an Alaskan family who spend the holidays selling evergreens in Manhattan, and have for 21 years.
  • They sleep in a camper and shower at a nearby hostel, taking 12-hour shifts to sell trees around the clock.

‘Tis the season in New York City, which means miniature evergreen forests have sprouted up every few blocks. The Christmas tree-sellers have come to town.

Despite a coniferous tree shortage, vendors have come from all around North America to make some extra cash and brave the crowds and the cold. Newsday reported the market is open to practically anyone — you don’t need a license to sell Christmas trees on the city sidewalks.

Business Insider spoke with the Gilmartins, an Alaskan family running a stand on 22nd Street and Ninth Avenue.

Back in 2015, AP reported they sell about 500 trees a season, earning around $14 an hour.

Married couple Tom and Michele have sold trees in Manhattan for 21 years, and their son Rory has accompanied them on the journey since he was a baby.

“What an adventure, right?” Tom told Business Insider. “We feel like we’re part of this place, for sure.”

This story was originally published in December 2017.

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