By THE EDITORIAL BOARD DEC. 24, 2017
Santa Claus has a home in New York, in a colonnaded building across from Pennsylvania Station that is the city’s main post office. It must be his home, because that’s where letters addressed to him wind up. The letters come from all over, tens of thousands of them each year, sent by the needy and the hopeful, the luckless and the guileless. Every Christmas season, kindhearted New Yorkers enlist as surrogate Santas. They go to the post office and sift through the mail in search of people to help.
Santa has another home of sorts in New York, in a brick building on the Upper West Side that houses a small school with about 110 students in pre-high school grades. The Studio School, as it is called, has an official address of 117 West 95th Street, but its building also encompasses No. 115. Long ago, No. 115 was home to Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, a Police Department surgeon and deputy coroner.
Dr. O’Hanlon had an 8-year-old daughter who, troubled by the skepticism of her “little friends,” asked about Santa’s existence. He suggested that she put the question in a letter to The New York Sun, a popular daily in its time. You’ve no doubt figured out where this is going. On Sept. 21, 1897, in what is surely the most oft-quoted (and oft-parodied) line from an American newspaper editorial, The Sun wrote, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” … READ MORE