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Wall Street Christmas Tree Lit Up as Neighboring Buildings Remain Powerless

By Irene Plagianos | December 5, 2012 7:42am | Updated on December 5, 2012 10:16am

LOWER MANHATTAN — The 89th lighting of the New York Stock Exchange was more subdued than usual Tuesday as lower Manhattan continued to deal with Hurricane Sandy's aftermath.

Hundreds still gathered on the cobblestoned street outside the NYSE, though the crowds weren’t as large as years past, residents said.

“I don’t think they really advertised the lighting this year,” said Annie Joachim, an event planner who lives nearby on Broad Street.

But others said they expected that this year would feel less inviting. Many residents and local businesses remain without power and have, at least temporarily, been displaced by flood damage.

Various musicians played throughout the day by the tree which, though festive, added more noise to streets already filled with the loud blare of generators, some locals said.

The lighting ceremony, which took place around 6 p.m., was relatively brief.  A singer sang a couple of holiday tunes — followed by a quick speech by the NYSE chairman, who emphazised the need for more help for Lower Manhattan.

"The work is far from done here," said Carter, before his wife hit the switch to light the tree. "We must stay focused and find ways to continue to contribute."

Soon after the tree’s hundreds of colored lights were illuminated, the crowd — much of which  was made up of tourists — quickly thinned out.

"It's a beautiful tree," said one resident who declined to give her name. "Maybe they'll figure out how to get power to the rest of the area too for Christmas."

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story included a quote blaming the Downtown Alliance for failing to publish the event. The Downtown Alliance is not responsible for the NYSE tree lighting, the New York Stock Exchange is.