VIDEO: West Hempstead Holds 'Holiday [Outside] Halls' This Year

With Halls Pond closed off, residents of West Hempstead kept its holiday lighting tradition alive with a small ceremony outside of the park.

Many West Hempstead residents look forward to ringing in the holidays with a special celebration held in the heart of the community, Halls Pond Park. The park is usually decked out with festive decorations and residents full of the spirit of the season in the winter months, but this year, the sights are a little different.

Piles of dirt and construction vehicles fill the area and a metal fence surrounds the park, preventing residents from stepping inside. Still, despite the fact that there would be no full-fledged "Holiday at Halls" this year, a group of residents insisted upon keeping the tradition alive, albeit on a smaller scale.

Local clergymen, civic leaders, residents and Nassau County Legislator Vincent Muscarella weathered the windy and frigid conditions on Dec. 5 to gather around a menorah and nativity that had been placed just outside the park. Standing on the corner of Nassau Boulevard and Hempstead Avenue, the small congregation prayed, lit a candle to celebrate another night of Chanukah and welcomed in the holiday season by reflecting on what means most to them at this time of the year - family, faith and their community.

Check out the video and photos from the ceremony.

Earlier in the month, on Dec. 2, the Chabad of West Hempstead also held a celebration outside Halls Park too. Musicians played Chanukah songs to the tune of pop hits, while young residents danced around and watched a performer eat fire! Check out video from this event too, courtesy of The Jewish Week.

Seth Bykofsky December 09, 2010 at 08:34 PM
New meaning to "Deck the Halls." Happy holidays to all my fellow West Hempsteaders!
Annie Padnick December 13, 2010 at 04:33 PM
My favorite memory of Halls Pond dates back to 1957 and 1958 when I ice skated on the pond. People would bring firewood and light the oil drums that dotted the pond. Kids skated around 6 or 6:30 at night and then we would walk across to where McDonalds is and go to Ricky's pizza restaurant and share a pie. In those days this restaurant only sold pies. The restaurant there had table cloths and the middle school children would chip in for the pizza and pitcher of soda. The oil drums lit up the pond and it was a pretty sight. Annie Padnick resident since 1951.


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