The Mighty Logo

New York City Changes Holiday Display After People Call It an ‘OCD Nightmare’

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Holiday wreaths hung on the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel into New York City were readjusted or removed Monday after people called the design an “OCD nightmare,”  Gothamist reported.

Originally, the Holland Tunnel had a normal O-shaped wreath over the “o” in Holland, a tree-shaped wreath over the “n” in Holland, and another O-shaped wreath over the “u” in tunnel. New Yorker Cory Windelspecht was irked with the design of the decorations, so he created a petition to move the tree-shaped wreath to sit over the “a” in Holland.

Windelspecht claimed that the position of the wreaths would “trigger anyone with the slightest hint of OCD every time they enter the city.” In a follow-up Instagram post, Windelspecht called the wreath situation an “OCD nightmare.”

The petition amassed over 3,000 signatures, and the attention of Port Authority officials, who created a poll for commuters to vote on the position of the wreaths. While Windelspecht only called for the tree-shaped wreath to move, the poll showed others also wanted the O-shaped wreath over the “u” in tunnel removed.

Holland Tunnel with wreaths over the "o" and "a."

Though media commonly portrays OCD as a need for neatness or cleanliness, OCD is much more than having certain quirks. Preferring order or symmetrical design is not a diagnostic criterion for OCD. Changing the decorations won’t ease OCD because that’s not how OCD works.

If OCD causes someone to excessively wash their hands or organize something a certain way, it’s because there’s a negative thought associated with the behavior. Someone may think that they have to do the behavior (compulsion) to avoid something bad happening (obsession).

Liking order does not mean you have OCD. It’s OK to petition to have visually-unappealing decorations removed, just don’t trivialize OCD when doing so.

Originally published: December 19, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home