New York is famous for blueballing you with the promise of a spring makeout session before realizing whoops it has to get up early in the morning and you’re stuck with winter for yet another long miserable night. The best way to deal with this cold snap right now is denial, or at least remembering that it is technically spring and nature is coming back to life all around you, beautiful life-giving nature that pumps oxygen back into your brain. Trees are Good, trees are necessary and you should never take for granted how easy it is to be among them right here in Brooklyn. You can get free ones from the city, request one be planted on your block or go build a yurt among them during a hike through Staten Island, who are we to judge, live your best life. Here is a guide to free ways to get more trees in your life:
Go on a hike: It’s mercifully easy to break out of the sometimes claustrophobic city, and you don’t need a car to do it. We put together a list of the best hikes you can get to in or around New York City by public transit, including the gorgeous and massive Harriman State Park, the Staten Island Greenbelt and the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway.
Request a tree for your street: If your street could use a little more greenery, asking for a new tree is as easy as calling 311 (or using the 311 website). You can request a street tree be planted using this form; they’ll email you updates about the status of your tree request.
Pick up a free tree: The city’s tree program is holding tree giveaways throughout the spring; the next one is Tuesday from noon to 2pm at the Barclays Center. You have to register ahead of time for one and agree to plant it a yard (not along streets, in parks or on a roof) and keep it watered and maintained.
More pickups will be held throughout the month around the borough, see the full list here.
Turn something into a green space: They city will also help you turn some community space into a garden or plant bed, providing manpower, construction and forestry help. Go here to find more info or learn how to apply.
Help take care of trees: Get your work boots on and tune your pruning hands: You can volunteer to take care of street trees and other public gardens here. Right now, the city is looking for volunteers to work on projects in Canarsie in Brooklyn; check back to see other opportunities throughout the season.
Go see some trees: We live in a lush borough with enough flora to make you forget you’re just a train ride away from the cruel and unrelenting concrete of midtown Manhattan. Brownstoner put together this handy list of the best spots to see Brooklyn’s trees in bloom, including the Botanic Garden, Owl’s Head Park and Sunset Park.