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Lighten Up

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Upper East Siders who catch a glimmer of the perennial Park Avenue Christmas trees while fighting their way through crowds or careering through midtown in taxis are noticing that things are a little different this year. "I looked at them and said, 'I can't stand the sea of little white lights!' " explains Margaret Ternes, executive director of the Fund for Park Avenue, which oversees the holiday lights (first installed in 1945 as a memorial to World War II soldiers). An attempt was made to spice things up last winter with frosted bulbs. "Nobody could see them but me and the electricians," Ternes laments. This time around, in addition to the thousands of starry tiny bulbs, a garland of larger white "C-7s" has been strung around each tree in a spiral. The lights turn on around 4:30 p.m. each day and in random order -- because it turns out that not everyone who beholds them is infected with the Christmas spirit. "The time clocks get stolen," Ternes sighs. "Some years, we lose about six or seven."


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