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Tony Danza Ushers in Christmas with Little Italy Tree Lighting

By Paul Lomax | December 2, 2012 10:51am

LITTLE ITALY — Dozens of bundled-up Little Italy faithfuls huddled around to watch the 25-foot Christmas tree on the community's Main Street light up Saturday night.

"It's nice to be back in the neighborhood especially for the holidays," said actor Tony Danza, after flipping the lights for this year's Canadian tree in the courtyard of the Most Precious Blood Church on Mulberry Street.

More than 1,000 lights glimmered from the tree's branches as singer Jenna Esposito performed a rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

"I sang this song because to me it embodies the Christmas spirit and is full of warm and beautiful sentiments," Esposito told DNAinfo.com New York.

As tourists stopped and gazed at the picturesque moment, even well-established locals had a hard time not getting misty-eyed.

"It's a special time of the year. This city needs a little bit of happiness after Hurricane Sandy," said Ralph Tramontana, 43, the owner of Sambuca Cafe on Mulberry Street.

Tourists Adam Patton, 35, and his wife Ruth, 32, from Seattle, paused as they were strolling through the strip, admiring the Christmas decorations.

"It's our first time in New York City and Little Italy was one spot we really wanted to visit. The Christmas decorations are great," said Adam.