Holiday displays have been stripped from the St. George and Whitehall ferry terminals this year, leaving just Salvation Army kettle bell ringers, and a big plastic sleigh filled with toys for needy kids, according to the Staten Island Advance.
That’s it. No Christmas trees, no menorahs.
Those kind of displays didn’t cause a problem last year. But Seth Solomonow, a spokesman for the city Department of Transportation, told the Advance – somewhat cryptically – “After a review of our policy last year, DOT has implemented a policy that does not permit decorative displays in the ferry terminal area.”
Then came the standard press release language:
“Keeping the passenger terminal clear will allow staff and crew to focus on their primary mission: Getting the system’s 65,000 daily commuters where they need to go safely and on schedule.”
And besides, he added, “This is similar to the policy at Grand Central which does not permit displays on the main floor of the terminal.”
The Advance notes, however, that what this policy mostly just finesses church-and-state issues that have raised various protests in public spaces. The ferry terminal got caught up in it last year after the city’s DOT removed an unauthorized nativity scene.