Hurry down the chimney
Newport neighborhood welcomes Santa, holiday season
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
Dec 02, 2012 | 1920 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ellie Hu was walking in a winter wonderland that didn’t have any snow, but featured two oversized nutcracker statues.
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The North Pole toy factory is humming with activity as Kris Kringle’s helpers try to finish making gifts in time for Dec. 25. Meanwhile, Santa and a few of his elves made a quick visit to Jersey City’s Newport community to see what kids young and old want for Christmas.

The visit, which took place on Wednesday, Nov. 28, was the eleventh such trip Santa has made to the Newport neighborhood. And while Santa was clearly the main attraction, several of his elves traveled with him to make the visit more fun for local kids. One elf juggled illuminated balls as another made balloon animals. Both guys nearly upstaged Santa.

“I liked the balls,” said Nell Potts, referring to the juggler, when asked what she wanted for Christmas. Several times Potts left the line to sit in Santa’s lap to get a better view of the juggler.

“We don’t celebrate Christmas,” said Parva Marwan. “But my son has already told me he wants Lightning McQueen. I told him we don’t celebrate Christmas. But a lot of his friends do at school. So, maybe I’ll get him something small [for Christmas].”

Like the Marwans, most of the children lining up to talk to Santa hail from South Asia and do not celebrate Christmas. But most of the parents interviewed said they regard Santa Claus as a fun secular character, not a religious figure, so they don’t mind letting their children writing letters to the North Pole or sitting in Santa’s lap.

“It’s all in good fun,” said Manorama Raman.

A DJ played holiday classics as attendees tried to stay warm with hot cocoa and brownies on what was an unusually frigid night. Organizers say this annual event generally attracts roughly 1,000 each year. Last week’s cold temps appeared to keep attendance unusually low this year.

At the end of the night, before Santa returned home, a community tree was lit in Newport circle.

E-mail E. Assata Wright at awright@hudsonreporter.com.

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