It’s officially Christmastime in New York City. The Rockefeller Center tree is shining bright, which means it is now socially acceptable for you to start decking your halls. That includes finding your very own Christmas tree.
But you’ll need one that suits your style, your budget and your living space. We rounded up tree sellers from Park Slope to East Harlem to create this handy guide to finding your perfect tree in the city and getting it home without making a spectacle on the subway.
What’s your Christmas tree style?
The heavy ornament hanger
If you’re all about the fancy (i.e. heavy) ornaments, then your tree will need sturdy branches.
You’ll want to go with a Fraser Fir, which most tree sellers carry, or the less common Canaan Firs. The latter has thicker branches but this species is harder to find. However, Greg Walsh sells some New York-grown Canaans at his six tree stands, which are located in Williamsburg, Park Slope, Astoria, College Point and Fresh Meadows. (Addresses below.)
The studio apartment dweller
“It all starts with getting the right tree for your space,” says Mary Jeanne Packer, executive director of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York. Packer said people too often make the mistake of buying a tree that’s too big for their home because it looks good in the lot. “A small tree is still a lovely tree,” she adds.
At Urban Garden Center in East Harlem, Dimitri Gatanas sells “Charlie Brown” Christmas trees. The “tabletop trees,” measuring about 2-feet high, come with a small stand and a single ornament on them. They’re priced around $30, and bonus: You can easily bring them on the subway. Walsh also carries table top trees in the 3-to-4 foot range at his shops, as do many of the sidewalk vendors around the city.
The fragrance fanatic
If filling your home with the smell of fresh evergreen is a top priority then the Balsam Fir is your best bet. These fuller trees are the most potent, Packer says, but their branches aren’t as strong as Fraser Firs. Many sellers in the city carry Balsams. At Urban Garden Center in East Harlem, average prices range from $50 to $70 for Balsams between 5 and 7 feet tall.
The tree keeper
If you intend on keeping your tree up long past Dec. 25 -- just think, in February, you can decorate it with hearts for Valentine’s Day --- then you’ll need a species that scores high marks for needle retention. The experts recommend Fraser Firs and also the less common Concolor species. On his web site, Walsh refers to the Fraser as the “no shed” tree. And Packer adds, “I’ve seen Frasers that are brown and still have their needles.” The longevity comes at a price. Dimitri Gatanas said the Frasers he sells are about $5 more than Balsams of the same size, with average prices for a 6-to-7 foot Fraser ranging from $65 to $75.
The proud New Yorker
If "Made in New York" matters to you, there are some stands in the city that carry trees grown by upstate farmers. Gatanas said he made a commitment this year to stock his family’s East Harlem business, Urban Garden Center, with mostly trees that are native to New York. All of the Balsam Firs and a portion of the Frasers he sells at his Park Avenue stand (located under the Metro-North train tracks) were grown in New York. Walsh is also carrying six different species of New York trees -- Douglas Firs, Blue Spruces, Concolors, Balsams, Canaans and White Pines at his six stands.
When you purchase a locally grown tree, they tend to be fresher, said Packer, since they are harvested just a few days before they arrive in the city. Plus, she added, buying a New York tree helps to sustain the state’s agriculture, support the economy and preserve open spaces.
Where to buy it and how to get it home
From pop-up sidewalk shops and garden centers to your local bodega, it’s not hard to find someone hawking trees during the holiday season. Here’s a list of some -- but certainly not all -- tree sellers. Some even offer delivery and set-up, and accept phone and online orders.
Urban Garden Center: 1640 Park Ave., East Harlem. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday - Sunday, starting Dec. 1. (Every Saturday, there’s a wreath making workshop and a raffle for a free tree.) For an extra fee -- about $25 depending on the tree's size and where you live -- they’ll deliver and set it up for you. Online ordering at urbangardennyc.com. Trees available: Fraser Firs, Balsam Firs.
Greg’s Trees: 120 Essex St. Order by phone: 917-734-3963. Trees available: Grand, Noble, and Nordmann firs. More info at gregstrees.com.
Soho Trees: Eight Manhattan locations: Sixth Avenue and Spring Street, Hudson Avenue and St. Lukes Place, E. 68 Street and First Avenue, 1568 Third Ave., 401 E. 59th St., E. 36th Street and Second Avenue, and W. 53rd St. and 11th Avenue. An eigth location, at Theodore Roosevelt Park, is new this year. Order online at sohotrees.com. Free delivery. Trees available: Fraser Firs, Noble Firs, Canadian Balsams, Grand Firs and Nordmann Firs.
Greg’s Trees: 555 7th Ave., Park Slope and 776 Lorimer St., Williamsburg. Delivery and set-up available for additional fee -- around $10 on average. The Williamsburg location has bicycle delivery guys. Open 24/7. Order by phone: 917-734-3963. Trees available: Douglas Firs, Frasers, Balsams, Concolors, Canaans, Blue Spruces, White Pines, Nobles, Nordmanns and Grand Firs. More info at gregstrees.com.
Soho Trees: Avenue U and Stuart Street, Marine Park. Order online at sohotrees.com. Free delivery. Trees available: Fraser Firs, Noble Firs, Canadian Balsams, Grand Firs and Nordmann Firs.
Greenpoint Trees: 814 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint and 225 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg. Home delivery available. Phone orders accepted: 1-800-399-7796. Trees: Balsam Firs, Fraser Firs. More info at greenpointtrees.nyc.
Lowe’s: Two Brooklyn locations -- 118 2nd Ave. in Gowanus and 5602 Avenue U. in Mill Basin. Online ordering at lowes.com. Trees start at $29.98 and there is an additional fee for delivery. Trees available: Balsam, Douglas, Fraser and Nobel Firs.
Home Depot: 230 Nostrand Ave., Bed-Stuy; 550 Hamilton Ave. Gowanus; 5700 Avenue U, Mill Basin; 579 Gateway Dr., Spring Creek; 2970 Cropsey Ave., Gravesend. Online ordering with free delivery at homedepot.com. Trees available: Douglas Firs, Fraser Firs.
Greg’s Trees: Cunningham Park at 196 Union Turnpike, Fresh Meadows; 132-12 14th Ave., College Point; Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden at 29-19 24th Ave., Astoria. Home delivery available. Order by phone: 917-734-3963. Trees available: Douglas Firs, Frasers, Balsams, Concolors, Canaans, Blue Spruces, White Pines, Nobles, Nordmanns and Grand Firs. More info at gregstrees.com.
Lowe’s: 253-01 Rockaway Blvd., Rosedale. Online ordering at lowes.com. Additional fee for delivery. Trees available: Balsam, Douglas, Fraser and Nobel Firs.
Home Depot: 50-10 Northern Blvd., Long Island City; 73-01 25th Ave., East Elmhurst; 75-09 Woodhaven Blvd., Glendale; 124-04 31st St., College Point; 131-35 Avery Ave., Flushing’ 92-30 168th St., Jamaica; 13220 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica; 11220 Rockaway Blvd., South Ozone Park. Online ordering with free delivery at homedepot.com. Trees available: Douglas Firs, Fraser Firs.
Egan Acres Tree Farm: 314 West 231st St., Riverdale. More info at eganacrestreefarm.com.
Home Depot: 600 Exterior St. and 2560 Bruckner Blvd. Online ordering with free delivery at homedepot.com. Trees available: Douglas Firs, Fraser Firs.
Home Depot: 545 Targee St. and 2501 Forest Ave. Online ordering with free delivery at homedepot.com. Trees available: Douglas Firs, Fraser Firs.
Tyler’s Trees: The site has nine packages to choose from starting at $139 for a 5-foot Fraser Fir and up to $850 for a 13-foot Fraser. Complimentary delivery, installation, a plastic tree stand and tree skirt are included in the prices. More info at tylerstrees.com.
Green Valley Christmas Trees: The site, greenvalleychristmastrees.com, has Fraser Firs, Noble Firs, Balsam Firs and Nordmann Firs. The last day to order trees is Dec. 12.