Russell wrapped her first tree between Sixth and Seventh avenues four years ago, and has since added new sweaters every year. She hopes the sweaters inspire pedestrians to "rethink their environment,” the Paper reports. She was inspired by The Gates, Patch reports.
And while most people seem to regard the sweaters as a charming bit of local color—with a minority suggesting "maybe... knitting sweaters for trees was just the sort of twee bullshit that makes people hate Park Slope"—others take this issue seriously.
"Tree stewards are authorized to take those things off and toss them," one Brooklyn Paper commenter writes. "If those get wet and remain on the tree, that area is susceptible to infection/damage."
So, the possible suspects are wiener-dog owners, tree stewards, and enemies of twee. Other things you could more or less put in a tree sweater, for what it's worth, include meatloaf, a rolled-up yoga mat, unsliced salami (or a tofurkey), a squat telescope, or a rather large pencil.