It's a big logistical challenge: truck in an enormous pine tree to 11 Wall Street right at the southern tip of Manhattan, NY. But for two decades, O'Sullivan Tree Care and Recycling has managed that task of delivering the New York Stock Exchange's Christmas tree in a tradition that itself dates back 95 years to 1923.
There's always ceremony and entertainment for the tree lighting each year, but the real feat is the freight in this particular environment. Much goes on behind the scenes to facilitate what the public ultimately sees: it took about 50 people from start to finish, according to O'Sullivan.
That's everything from planning and cutting to transporting, erecting, and decorating the tree. O'Sullivan used one of its five Kenworth T880 trucks to haul in the 78-ft. pine tree last week—the company operates 30 light-to-heavy-duty trucks in all—and it took a crew and heavy boom trucks to get the tree off the trailer once it arrived.
"There's a lot of planning that goes into making a haul like this happen," said Jim O'Sullivan, owner of the tree services provider. "It takes two to three days to prepare the tree to be cut and another day to cut the tree, not to mention all of the logistics of getting the tree to the Stock Exchange."
That includes flaggers to help direct traffic, he explained, adding that practice has helped make perfect and the company "continues to get better at it every year."
But it's actually a process that begins long before the delivery itself; it might take "generations," O'Sullivan noted, to grow a pine of this height and stature for the NYSE display. And it can be something of a bittersweet search that can take some time and span many states.
O'Sullivan said that the company has gone as far as California to find one in a selection process that can take months and often sources trees from residential areas. "It's difficult to find the perfect tree, and when you do, many aren't willing to part ways," he said.
This time the tree was more local to NYSE and came from Foxborough, MA south of Boston. It's a shining moment for a special tree many years in the making, and once it's taken down, O'Sullivan Tree Care will remove the tree and recycle it, using it for wood, chips, mulch, and more.