Bizarre Budapest: the Michael Jackson Memorial Tree
I’m currently in Budapest, where a walk with Milos led me to the…Michael Jackson Memorial tree in Erzsébet tér.
This is a labor of love. Photos, letters, and candles decorate a tree across from the Kempinski, Michael Jackson’s hotel of choice during his three visits to Budapest. While Jackson was staying at the hotel, fans gathered around this tree to get a glimpse of the man waving from his window in the Presidential Suite. The day of his death, fans established a memorial around this tree to honor his memory. The tree is still maintained to this day. The white paper on the tree states: “Michael was accomodated in hotel Kempinski Next to his [sic] tree in 1996 September. He had concert in stadion [sic] part of History World Tour. So Hungarian fans established his memorial place”. The M.J. love doesn’t stop there. Every year on August 29th, fans gather to flashmob/re-enact a Michael Jackson dance scene. This August was an homage to Black or White.
Personally, I would have chosen Thriller, the most recognized choreography in the world. Regardless it’s amazing to think of how one singer affected people all over the world for so long. I suppose that’s why the tree is there; to remind people of a flawed, doomed, and incredible human being. Or maybe it’s just there to make dogwalkers to a double-take at the bizarre side of Budapest.