Upham's Corner Online

Holiday Tree in Upham's Corner - Laying the Lights for the 27th

Posted: Wednesday, November 18,2010
Nancy J Conrad

Meet Clif (Clifton) Sullivan, inspector with the City of Boston Street Lighting and Ian Umansky, Maintenance Mechanic.

Clif and  Ian are installing lights on the Upham's Corner holiday tree in preparation for the tree lighting on November 27. Normally two workers tackle each tree - one on the ground and one up top - while the inspector hands out the assignments and checks on work. 

Today Street Lighting was short a mechanic, so Clif and Ian got to team up and do the work together.


Before we arrived, the guys used the bucket truck to secure the light string to the tree in hanging loops. 

The photos following show the process of using the bucket truck to tap an extension of the light string directly into the street light. 

You can get a pretty good idea of how the Street Lighting mechanics work and the extent to which they follow safety rules. 

We caught Ian attaching his harness to the bucket on several occasions. 

Good job, Ian!

"How tall is the tree?" Cliff estimated about 30 feet. 

"How about the lights?" Clif said they used five strands of 100 bulbs each with the bulbs approximately a foot apart.

"That's 500 feet of lights, right?"  We were amazed.  Cliff looked nonchalant - just another day in the life of Street Lighting in the Holidays.  "Ya, that's about right - five hundred feet.

"So how do the lights get turned on? You guys have to come back here on the 27th when the mayor is here?"

 "That's exactly what happens.  There's a street lighting box at  Dudley and Columbia Road. 

At the time of tree lighting, Mayor Menino creates anticipation by doing a countdown.  What the crowd doesn't know is that his voice is being radioed to one of our mechanics at that box. 

At the count of zero, we flick a switch and the magic of the holiday season kicks in."
You will also notice the smile, warmth and genuine friendliness of Clif Sullivan.  Our photo series begins with Clif's thoughtful pose and ends with his confident and beaming smile. 

Job well done, both of you guys!

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