For years, the holiday decorations over the New Jersey-side entrance to the Holland Tunnel were extremely, mildly infuriating. A nice wreath and Christmas tree greeted commuters and visitors going into New York City, but inexplicably, they were laid across the “HOLLAND TUNNEL” logo in some very curious places—a tree over the N, and another wreath over the U. Now, at long, long last, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has fixed it after a bunch of people complained.
Being from New Jersey and spending nearly every holiday in the city with my family, I’ve grown up seeing those decorations. I, too, was slightly nettled by the placement of the Christmas tree: Sticking it over the ‘N’ in ‘Holland’ instead of the ‘A,’ which is definitely the more logical choice of the two. The letter A is shaped like a Christmas tree, dammit!
Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my irritation.
More than 21,000 people voted in a five-day public poll for what the Port Authority has called the Great Holland Tunnel Decoration Debate, according to a press release. It’s concluded that:
... voters clearly siding with change and electing a design that will shift the tree currently hanging over the “N” to the “A” in the word “Holland” and will remove the second wreath hanging over the “U” in “Tunnel.” This proposal captured 41.7% of all votes cast beat out the option that would have only shifted the tree but preserved the second wreath by nearly 1,200 votes, or approximately 5.5 percentage points. The changes will be made Monday night.
The poll was started after Cory Windelspecht created a petition on Change.org, demanding that the tree be moved to cover the A in order to appease people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (This may also be the only good use of a Change.org petition, ever.)
“It’s just ugly,” he told the New York Times. “It doesn’t make sense.” Over 1,500 people signed his petition, according to the outlet.
His petition read:
... every Holiday Season it is decorated with 2 wreaths and a Holiday Tree. But for some reason the tree is over the letter N in the word Holland instead of the letter A where it would fit perfectly. This one small thing triggers anyone with the slightest hint of OCD every time they enter the city. On top of that, it’s just unsightly and ruins the holiday festivities for people to enjoy on such a great piece of architecture.
I am asking you to join with me in asking the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to move the tree decoration over from the letter N to cover the A. This is the time where ALL PEOPLE should be celebrating and have an opportunity to enjoy the decorations and festivities. This country is divided already, let’s start doing things to bring us back together.
The Port Authority claims that this is an example of how it takes customer feedback seriously.
Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said: “Beyond the merriment and cheer with which we’ve accommodated this groundswell of holiday commentary, it illustrates that we take all customer feedback seriously. This couldn’t be more critical to an organization that is charged with rebuilding and investing critical infrastructure assets throughout the region – from the Goethals Bridge to our airports to the PATH System. We look forward to continuing active engagement with our customers on a wide variety of issues that impact their travel experience across our facilities.”
But he isn’t completely satisfied. “The Port Authority needs to get their shit together,” he told Jalopnik heatedly. “They think this was a good way to get good PR. Now, if only they put a little more effort into keeping the PATH trains on schedule. It’s sad it took a petition for them to see this was a problem in the first place.”
He’s not wrong. Meanwhile, we’re over here across the river, demanding that the MTA fix the damn subway.