The details are rich. And this time next year, many more people besides Francois’ loyal, regular customers will get to bask in the glow of the Quebec-born Christmas tree vendor who sets up shop each holiday season at 102nd Street and Broadway.
A movie about Francois and, peripherally, several other seasonal Manhattan street vendors is being made by low West 100s resident Jon Reiner and low West 90s pal Brad Rothschild. From a recent article by Daily News reporter Joe Dziemianowicz:
The takeaway of the movie “is about relationships and rituals,” says Rothschild. “A number of people we’ve interviewed have told us that it’s not the holidays until they see Francois.”
The salesman relates. “I know my customers and they know me,” says Francois, 42, who studied cinematography and is no stranger to film sets. He has done camera work in the past in Quebec. These days, Francois runs a small awning business in the province most of the year.
Ever since Francois has been making the annual NYC pilgrimage and sleeping in his van, he has also crucially been able to count on the support of elderly customer Jill Chase. Each year, she allows the married father of (now) three to use her apartment between Thanksgiving and Christmas to shower, do laundry and share with her the occasional meal. We look forward to seeing Tree Man.