West Side Rag »Christmas Tree in Central Park Serves as Pet Memorial Site

Posted on December 22, 2021 at 11:16 AM by West Sider

Tyler with a photo of his dog Darwin.

By Lydia Ettinger

A Central Park tree is adorned with ornaments, but it’s not your traditional Christmas tree. This one is dedicated to New Yorkers’ best friends and midlife buddies.

The tree is in the Ramble but its exact location is considered a secret. It celebrates the lives of the animals who turned hills, rocks and fields into their personal playground. The owners hang pictures, ornaments and farewells of all kinds.

A recent visitor named Marie was there to honor her dog Topanga, who passed away in August. Marie said she was grateful for the tree as it gives her and the other owners a place of remembrance for their furry friends. She cried as she said, “It gave us the opportunity to honor her during the season.”

It provides a sense of community this time of year, especially when their pets are not around as they hang ornaments or light Hanukkah candles.

Marie fell on the tree this week, but already feels a lasting bond with it. “Now that we know this tree is here, we will visit it every year,” she said.

Another visitor had similar feelings. East sider Tyler visited a photo of his dog Darwin who died last summer. Tyler’s sister and Darwin passed away around the same time, so Tyler decided to pay tribute to her alongside Darwin, honoring both of their memories. Tyler is grateful to the dog community for having this space. He said: “Our dogs love the park and it is a big part of their life, having the tree is a great comfort to the community.”

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