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Does This Year’s Holl🎄nd Tunnel Decor Do It For You?


Earlier today, workers with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey installed new holiday decorations on the Holland Tunnel’s overlarge nameplate. The stakes were precipitous, and not just because of afternoon snow storms that threatened to complicate the logistics: Despite being an ostensibly simple concept — just slap some seasonal spruce up there and you’ve got yourself a suitably wintry display — last year’s art direction kicked up a real barn-burner of a debate. Surely you have not forgotten, and never will forget, the Great Holland Tonnel fracas of 2018? Surely this memory has seared itself on your oversaturated brain, carved out a small space in your hippocampus where you can visit it from time to time.

I hope that is the case for you, and if it is, hold that moment close because this year’s decorations look much less hilarious than we all know they could. Please, peep this attempt at recognizable spelling, if not necessarily symmetry, over on the Jersey City side of the tunnel:

To be fair, we knew — or should have known — that it would be this way, given the unusually impassioned public feedback on last year’s holiday decor scheme. Just to jog your memory, that involved placing a large wreath over the “O” in Holland (reasonable, regular, no issues here) and a Christmas tree (ah, okay I see where you’re going with this) over the… first “N” in Holland, rather than over the more obvious choice, “A” (what). And then, as the supremely chaotic pièce de résistance, they tossed another wreath over the “U” in Tunnel, leaving Bridge and Tonnel commuters absolutely up in arms.

“I’m standing outside of this monstrosity of Christmas decorations,” area man Cory Windelspecht explained in an outraged Instagram video referencing the Tonnel, and simultaneously launching a petition to make Port Authority see reason. “Every day, New Yorkers and New Jerseyans have to pass through these gates to get into the city of New York. And they are forced to stare at this OCD nightmare, of this Christmas tree that’s over the letter ‘N’ [and] that should be moved over one spot to the letter ‘A,’ where it would fit perfectly. It’s … not right, it wasn’t right 10 years ago, it wasn’t right two years ago, it’s certainly not right this year, and … we’re taking a stand.”

Announcing his plan to bring the petition in front of the Port Authority Board, and to “hopefully not sound like the McRib lady [ed. note: It’s unclear which ‘McRib lady’ he meant; there appear to be several],” Windelspecht begged his viewers’ help and support in making an objectively “not right” situation right again. Which, yes, look at Tonnel; something was amiss:

In what you may consider a Christmas miracle, Port Authority listened, inviting concerned parties to choose a new configuration from four options: 1) No changes, let chaos reign; 2) Move the tree to the “A” where it arguably belongs, but leave the “O” in Tonnel because lol; 3) Move the tree to the “A” and take down the Tonnel wreath; 4) Keep it largely as-is but throw another tree on the “A,” to underscore how few fucks you have to give about this.

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Choose your warrior.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

For reasons still unknown to us, the Port Authority did not allow anyone to vote on our cheerfully unhinged submission (the chaotic good of the group, you’ll agree):

This is an edited photo of a bunch of Christmas trees and wreaths plastered to the Holland Tunnel sign.

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I choose this one.

Jen Chung/Gothamist

Anyway, the people chose Scheme No. 3, restoring order in the kingdom by eliminating the Tonnel “O,” and in turn giving the Port Authority a chance to show you just how much it cares. (“Beyond the merriment and cheer with which we’ve accommodated this groundswell of holiday commentary, it illustrates that we take all customer feedback seriously,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said at the time.)

So now, here we are, with an “A” tree that’s noticeably Bigger Than Before, and maybe just a little disproportionate to its neighbor, “O.” Whatever. Windelspecht is satisfied.

“I’m happy the Port Authority had some holiday fun with the public last year and showed that they do care about how we feel and what we think,” he told ABC 7. “I’m very happy they are keeping the holiday tradition of lighting up the Holland Tunnel alive and look forward to a great Christmas and Holiday season in New York, the greatest city in the world.”

Hm yes sure, looks great to me. [*whispers* bring back Tonnel] Who said that????

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