Cardboard Christmas tree sparks friendly debate on Asbury Park boardwalk

Every year, a Christmas tree is put up inside the Grand Arcade at the historic Asbury Park Convention Hall. But the non-traditional tree this year is sparking some friendly debate about what constitutes a Christmas tree.
The tree that was put up this year is not a freshly cut Evergreen, but a 17-feet-tall cardboard sculpture.
“It’s modern. But not to my taste,” said one visitor. “I like a bit of greenery. Natural life.”
But that gentleman seemed to be in the minority. News 12’s Brian Donohue conducted an informal poll of about 30 people, and all but three said that they liked this new tree.
“My husband said, ‘Go check out the funky tree.’ I didn’t know it was going to be different this year and it’s very cool,” one woman said.
“This doesn’t say warmth and live. I don’t really get anything from this – it doesn’t look like a tree to me,” said another.
But it seemed as if the more some questioned the tree, the more Asbury Park embraced it.
“People gotta get over tradition,” said one man.
And this may get easier when one hears the story behind the tree. It was made by two local artists - Bradley Hoffer and “Porkchop” – who hatched the idea out of concern that a real tree might not be easy to find this year. The design is meant to reflect the ocean, Asbury Park’s architecture and its music history. At the base of the tree is a gift stand sending a portion of its proceeds to local nonprofits.
“After I read the little description of what it stood for, I think that’s the way to go,” said one visitor.
Asbury Park has always gone against the grain. Even when the city put up a real tree, Santa Claus arrived at the tree lighting ceremony in a leather jacket and riding a motorcycle. The city prides itself for being cutting edge, funky and a little weird.
Bradley Hoffer and “Porkchop’s” artwork can be found all across Asbury Park.