BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

New Yorkers Are Losing Their Minds Over The "HOLLAMD TONNEL" Christmas Decorations

"The holidays are too stressful already and Port Authority makes us stare at this sheer stupidity every [day]."

Posted on December 13, 2018, at 5:31 p.m. ET

Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News

New Yorkers and New Jerseyans are coming together this holiday season to stand up for what's right: fixing whatever the heck is going on with the Holland Tunnel's Christmas decorations.

The decorations inexplicably put a tree over the "N" and a wreath over the "U" so the sign spells "HOLLAMD TONNEL" (or "HOLLAAD" or "HOLLAD," as many people see it).

The baffling stylistic choices are making commuters so angry they've even inspired an online petition: "Move the Christmas Tree on the Holland Tunnel from the N to cover the A."

As the petition states, the Holland Tunnel, which connects Manhattan to Jersey City, New Jersey, "is a majestic site of architecture and history" and "a site that should be celebrated.

"However, every Holiday Season it is decorated with 2 wreaths and a Holiday Tree," the petition states. "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," says the petition. "On top of that, it’s just unsightly and ruins the holiday festivities for people to enjoy on such a great piece of architecture."

The petition was created by Cory Windelspecht, a 38-year-old Manhattan resident, who told BuzzFeed News the botched decorations have been ruining his winter commutes since 2010 or 2011.

"It just made my skin itch," Windelspecht said. "There's something about the symmetry of it that would drive me nuts."

Windelspecht said he was diagnosed with OCD as a child, and the decorations "almost make [him] have anxiety when [he'd] see it."

More than 2,000 people have signed the petition so far, with many offering their impassioned reasons why they support it.

"NYC spent tens of thousands of dollars to move the fountain in Washington Square Park so that it lines up with the arch," wrote Deirdre Bell. "The Port Authority can move an ornament three feet to the left."

"I live a few blocks from the tunnel entrance and we have been tortured by this aesthetic abomination for far too long!" wrote Joe Belingheri. "The holidays are too stressful already and Port Authority makes us stare at this sheer stupidity every [day]. End the madness!"

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has responded to the controversy by issuing a poll, through which the public can vote on how the decorations should be altered, if at all.

Over 3,000 people have cast votes in the Great Holland Tunnel Decoration Debate! Have you? Poll closes this Sunday (12/16/18) at 5pm! https://t.co/4ShmFOlGc1 #HappyHollandDays #ThursdayMotivation

The four options, which are accompanied by renderings, are: "Leave the decorations as they are," "Move the tree to hang over the A in the word 'HOLLAND,'" "Move the tree to hang over the A and remove the second wreath that's now over the U in the word 'TUNNEL,'" or "Add a tree to hang over the A, but keep and adjust the existing tree to make the decorations symmetrical."

People can vote for their pick on the Port Authority website through Sunday.

Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said in a statement that "this season is no time for discourse and debate, but for festive holiday cheer."

“In the spirit of the holidays, what matters most to us is customer experience and what our faithful travelers expect when they use our facilities," Cotton said. "So without further delay, we’ll listen to what they have to say and their opinions will guide how we proceed.”

Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News

Windelspecht actually presented a proposal to fix the decorations in a meeting with Port Authority board members on Thursday, when the board members said they'd stick to whatever the poll results came out to be.

He's said he's not sure that's good enough though, because people who want the decorations to be changed could split the vote between the three options, leaving the people who want it to stay the same at an unfair advantage.

Still, Windelspecht said, "It's a fun debate because there's no right answer."

"There's so much stuff that's bad in the news right now, and it's just a good holiday debate," he said. "I just hope we get a good New York moment out of it and maybe some change."

ADVERTISEMENT