Thinking about tree lightings in New York often triggers memories of that one time you intentionally (or unintentionally) got swallowed up by the tourist mosh pit around the Rockefeller Center tree. That’s not something you ever want to do again.
The Park Slope 5th Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) has the Brooklyn-based antidote. At their annual Small Business Saturday event, they will be lighting a (real) 22 ft. tall Christmas tree with yards on yards on yards of lights that you won’t need an electrical engineering degree to appreciate. The ceremony is from 6:30 p.m to 8 p.m. at JJ Byrne Park, at 5th Ave. and 4th Street, smack dab in the middle of events and discounts all up and down the avenue. And unlike a tree you keep in your fifth-floor walk-up, you won’t have to deal with mouse poop “presents” under the tree or thinking too deeply about the decaying object in your living room.
No stale, overpriced pretzels from Midtown carts here; instead, you’ll get free hot chocolate and treats from The Chocolate Room, Du Jour Bakery, Bagel World and Buttermilk Bakeshop. In need of musical cheer? There’ll be strolling carolers from Opera on Tap and folky, acoustic tunes from Leah Shaw… and lest you think this might just be your ordinary holiday celebration, note that this is Brooklyn: Santa Claus will be cruising 5th Ave. in a vintage pink Cadillac, in order to show his support for deers’ rights and breaking gender norms.
The cheer doesn’t stop there. Enjoy the Small Business Saturday shopping and dining specials at all of your favorite and soon to be favorite stores and restaurants. Instead of putting your money toward Brooklyn-branded merchandise in Midtown, put it towards actual Brooklyn-made items. Park Slope is considered to be the epicenter of the Shop Small movement, which embraces the kinds of businesses whose employees are not required to wear flare on company-issued henleys. There will be family-friendly festivities up and down 5th Avenue starting at 1pm, so you’ll be able to take all of your relatives (except the ones you’re not talking to after the election).
Specials include a free weekend of classes at Body Reserve (to work off your food baby, even when it feels like you have triplets along the way), sales of up to 40 percent off merchandise at Neda Boutique (for your classiest New Years’ outfit to date), and a Piccola Pianta pop-up shop at Monro Pub (where you’ll likely buy one terrarium for every drink).
Brooklyn’s own North Pole, the Park Slope 5th Avenue BID, runs 30 blocks long between Dean and 18th Streets. It supports the preservation of its bustling businesses. Members include property owners, commercial tenants, local elected officials and residents. They keep the blocks clean and put on community events all year long (Fifth Avenue Street Fair, anyone?), and they ensure that the avenue continues to be a great place to live, work, and shop.
Join the festivities 6:30 p.m to 8 p.m. Saturday at JJ Byrne Park, 5th Avenue and 4th Street in Park Slope.