I don’t care what holidays you do or don’t celebrate, it’s an incontrovertible fact that December is the best month to be in New York City because the normal New York street smells of garbage and urine and shit (dog or otherwise) are vanquished (temporarily, but still!) by the nutty aroma of roasting chestnuts and by the pine-infused air surrounding the borough’s ubiquitous Christmas tree stands. You’d have to have a heart at least three sizes too small not to enjoy the presence of Christmas tree stands throughout the month, you really would. Well, or you’d have to be someone who values extra room to maneuver around the hordes of people that crowd city sidewalks during this season, but whatever.
But so, where should you go to buy a tree? Are all tree stands created equally? Should you be looking for a bargain? Or is buying a Christmas tree like buying produce? Do you want to go organic? Do you want to kill yourself for even considering buying an “organic” tree? (Ahhh! What do words even MEAN anymore?) Or, wait! Should you even buy a real tree at all? Isn’t it bad for the environment to be chopping down so many trees? And if you get a fake one, then you won’t need to deal with the tragic, spindly tree carcass on December 26th. So many decisions! Don’t worry though, we’re here to walk you through it all. We can’t hold your hand through this (nor would we, gross), but we can give you a pretty handy guide for where to go to get your tree—real or unreal—this holiday season.
Your Best-Bet Local Stand
So these are the stands that you can’t help but be familiar with. They’re everywhere! And they’re usually where you can find some pretty good deals. But you don’t just want to go to any stand. Sure, some of the smaller stands will have perfectly fine trees. But you’d be surprised at how many times you’ll get a tree and bring it home and it just dries right the hell up within a day or two. Blame the arid, over-heated climate of the typical New York City apartment if you want, but it usually means a tree isn’t all that fresh. Here are a bunch of places around the borough that have excellent reputations, and great trees.
Park Slope/Prospect Heights
There are an abundance of options in Park Slope, probably because the neighborhood is full of brownstones with big bay windows that are just begging to be filled with a stately Douglas fir. Here are some of our favorite local spots to get a decently priced tree that will be easy to tote home.
Key Food at 5th Avenue and Sterling Place
CVS at 9th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues
Tom Foley’s Stand at 8th Avenue and 8th Street (BONUS: Free tree delivery, and 10% of proceeds go to local public schools)
DNY Natural Land at Flatbush Avenue between 7th Avenue and Sterling Place
Both of these Christmas tree destinations are also year-round florist shops, and are also great places to buy poinsettia, wreaths, and mistletoe.
Shannon Florists at 3380 Fort Hamilton Parkway
J & L Landscaping at 702 Caton Avenue
There’s plenty of tree options in north Brooklyn. There’s even a Greenpoint based delivery service! And one of these Christmas tree stands is even looking for employees, and even has its own tumblr. Hipster Christmas, you guys. It’s a thing.
McGolrick Trees at Nassau Avenue and N. Henry Street
Greenpoint Trees greenpointtrees.com (BONUS: Delivery!)
Bay Ridge/Bensonhurst/Sheepshead Bay/Dyker Heights/Brighton Beach/Mill Basin
Alright, so this is a lot of neighborhoods jammed together! All of them possess small, corner stands…but these places are also home to a lot of large tree lots, which are great places to get a deal.
JJ’s Christmas Trees in Bay Ridge (65th Street and 4th Avenue), Dyker Heights (13th Avenue and 86th Street) and Sheepshead Bay (Knapp Street and Avenue V)
AA Christmas Trees in Bensonhurst (Bay Parkway and 66th Street) and Brighton Beach (Coney Island Avenue and Avenue Y)
Anthony Gallo Landscaping and Nursery at 2187 Flatbush Avenue
Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens/Brooklyn Heights
It’s no surprise that there are a lot of tree stands in these neighborhoods (they have everything else, why not tree stands?), it’s all about picking the right one.
CVS Pharmacy at Court Street between Pacific and Dean Streets
Gowanus Yacht Club at Smith Street and President Street
Patti Romp Family Trees at 102 Montague Street between Henry and Hicks Streets
Fort Greene/Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy/Crown Heights
There are plenty of options for well-priced trees in these neighborhoods. Just make sure you don’t stray too far from where you live, because not as many places deliver, and those trees get HEAVY.
Kings County Nursery at 635 New York Avenue between Albany Avenue and Fenimore Street
Seasons at 358 Stuyvesant Avenue between MacDonough Street and Decatur Street
Gardel’s Garden at 97 S. Portland Avenue between Lafayette and Fulton Streets
Something a Little Fancier
So these places are for those of you for whom money is not an option. Wait. Do you exist? Or are you as real as Santa Claus? No matter. Here are some places to go if you want to spend big bucks on, like, a certified organic Christmas tree. Maybe it’ll even come with a squirrel!
Green in Vermont: this company has several locations and beautiful, fresh trees; find them in Windsor Terrace (456 16th Street near Prospect Park West) Brooklyn Heights (157 Montague Street at Clinton Street), Park Slope (at the Park Slope Food Co-op on Union Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues), Cobble Hill (326 Clinton Street at Kane Street), Clinton Hill (210 Lafayette Avenue and Clinton Street)
Great Deals If You Have a Car
So, you have a car! Good for you. If you don’t care about supporting local businesses (and you should—you really should—but maybe you don’t), then head over to one of these big box stores and get a good deal on a tree before tying it onto your roof and driving home like the suburbanite you so clearly want to be. No. Just kidding. Cars are great. But if you do have a car? Don’t forget to use it after Christmas to haul your tree-corpse over to one of the many sites of MulchFest 2014 (Prospect Park, Fort Greene Park, etc.) where you can say goodbye to the holidays and watch your tree get treated like a character from Fargo.
Home Depot: Many locations and easy parking make this big box retailer a no-brainer if you’ve got a car. Plus, you can get lights and a stand too! (550 Hamilton Avenue, Red Hook; 5700 Avenue U, Mill Basin; 585 Dekalb Avenue, Bed-Stuy; 2970 Cropsey Avenue, Coney Island; 579 Gateway Drive, Starrett City)
Lowes: This is a great place for a super-cheap tree, but you’ve gotta have a car to save money, because delivery is really expensive. (118 2nd Avenue, Gowanus; 5602 Avenue U, Mill Basin)
Fake Trees Because You Care About the Environment
You know how in that Charlie Brown Christmas special, Lucy likes fake trees that are all sorts of unnatural colors and we’re all supposed to think that’s terrible and feel sympathetic toward the ugly, little tree that Charlie Brown likes just because it’s natural and real? Ugh. I always hated that. Isn’t part of the great thing about being human that we get to improve on nature? Nature can sometimes be beautiful, sure. I’ve seen all your sunset Instagrams. Not bad! But also, nature can be ugly. Or, even if you don’t think nature can be ugly, even if you think that nature is only beautiful, then why do you want to viciously chop nature down and watch it slowly die in your living room for a whole month? What kind of a perverse monster are you? Get a fake tree and be good to the environment! The big box stores mentioned before sell an abundance of fake trees, but just because you’re buying from a huge corporation, doesn’t mean you can’t decorate locally. Here’s where to go to get some great ornaments for your fake, fake tree.
The Clay Pot: 162 7th Avenue, Park Slope
Sterling Place: 363 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill
Swallow: 361 Smith Street, Carroll Gardens
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