Volume 17 • Issue 29 | Dec. 10 -16, 2004

Downtown Express photo by Jennifer Weisbord

Some of the 14 people who came out to carol last Friday night in Battery Park City in what the Battery Park City Parents and Neighbors Association hopes will become a large annual tradition in the neighborhood.

Dashing near the river, B.P.C. gives caroling a go

By Nancy Reardon

It’s hard not to get into the holiday spirit in this city. New Yorkers treat themselves to some holiday cheer with the Christmas trees at Rockefeller Plaza and in Lower Manhattan, the elaborate window displays, and the dazzling lights.
But this year, members of the Battery Park City Parents and Neighbors Association decided to spread some joy on their own. Last Friday evening, 14 adults and children – even those in strollers – caroled along the riverfront and inside the World Financial Center Winter Garden.

Sunday’s caroling trip was sandwiched between two of Battery Park City’s other holiday events: the Christmas Tree lighting and annual holiday party. This inaugural evening will become part of a B.P.C. tradition, said Leah Huntington, a member of the Parents and Neighbors Association.

Although turnout was less than half what was expected, the carolers did their best to sing with gusto. A few problems – such as high wind and noisy cars – threatened to drone out their voices, but the children in the group seemed eager to counter any competing noise.

“My favorite songs are Rudolph and Frosty,” said Serrah Brown, 8, a student at P.S. 89. “No, wait. I like all of them.”

Brown did note, however, that “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” with its less upbeat rhythm and less known lyrics, was not a favorite.

Brown and the other children chose the songs and knew the words much better than their parents, who could be seen squinting to read their song sheets under the night sky.

The group did have its share of veteran carolers. Debra Murrow said she had serenaded in the streets of Eastern Europe, New England, Upstate New York and Texas.

“I do this just for fun,” she said. “I love to go out and sing.”

Murrow’s attitude was representative of the bunch. They sang to celebrate the start of the season together, have a good tim and, perhaps, help spread some cheer to passerby.

But at the Winter Garden’s atrium at the World Financial Center, where the group paused to sing in front of the Christmas trees, people hurried quickly past toward the nearby Starbucks or into shops. Many people seated in the atrium talked on cell phones during the group’s performance.

A security guard warned the group that without permission to perform, they would be asked to leave if a crowd formed.

None of this discouraged the determined group of singers. In fact, they’re already thinking of next year.

“We’ll get permission next year to end up here, and we’re going to attract a big crowd,” said Kim McIlrath.

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