Molly Hatfield's Vermont family has been selling Christmas trees in New York City for over 30 years. Every December Gopher Broke Enterprises of Wolcott, Vermont sell trees at 13 locations across New York.
You can find Molly every day at the corner of 110th Street and Broadway where she has been selling trees for 14 years with two brief breaks to nurse her children. Bring her a cup of tea, stop and say hello, everyone else does.
Molly works 14-16 hour days, every single day of the month of December. She works outside despite the snow, freezing rain and slush. She has never seen the tree at Rockefeller Center (which is not from VT, FYI) or taken in the tourist attractions New York has to offer. After 14 years, she is less of a tourist and more a member of the community.
Molly is known as "The Tree Lady" to many people in the neighborhood and has become a permanent fixture on the Upper West Side every holiday season. Even people who are not buying trees stop by to check in, say hello, deliver a fresh batch of rum balls or ask after her kids.
Molly does not plan on leaving VT anytime soon but she can't seem to give up her life in NY either. After all, what would happen to the Upper West Side at Christmas if The Tree Lady didn't show up? And how would The Tree Lady survive not knowing the city gossip?
Tune by Colin Clary off his awesome new album Apocalypse Yow!, "Gold Medal."
Editor's Note: I should also mention that Molly and I were best friends at Lamoille Union High School many years ago. We went to see David Bowie together during his Glass Spider Tour and it seemed only fitting that we would meet up again on the streets of Manhattan.