Meet Francois, the Upper West Side’s Christmas celebrity.
For the past decade, he has traveled from Quebec to New York City to sell Christmas trees on Broadway and West 102nd Street.
Every year, he leaves his family in Canada and spends a month — from Thanksgiving to about Christmas Eve — living out of his van named Elvis, which is parked on the sidewalk behind his tree stand.
Over time, Francois has become a holiday fixture in the neighborhood — so much so that two customers decided to make a documentary about his annual sojourn to the city.
He defines his business, The Green Stop, by strong customer relationships and strives to establish meaningful connections with each and every person who comes to buy a tree from him.
For some clients, buying a tree from Francois has become a yearly tradition. Customers often bring Francois and his co-workers — Jason, Nelson and Angel — coffee and hot meals on cold days. One woman has even volunteered to do his laundry.
Two local filmmakers, who started as a couple of Francois’s clients, made the documentary "Tree Man," which was recently profiled in The New York Times.
The film was directed and written by Jon Reiner and Brad Rothschild and will be screened at Symphony Space in Manhattan on December 27, 2015, and January 3, 2016.