Sunday, March 20, 2011
...is closing. Same New York story. Landlord, lease.
[3-21-11- An Anonymous comment on this post counters:
"A comment from the Landlord can be found on their Facebook page. Not exactly the "same old story" when eviction is just being realized after years of not paying rent. The owner of Liberty Sunset never had a lease and was given chance after chance to make good on his promises. The landlord even bartered wood-working contracts totaling over 300k just to keep Liberty Sunset in business. Now the debt owed to the Landlord is over 200k. There comes a point when enough is enough. If they do relocate let's hope their new Landlord isn't forced to subsidize Liberty Green's business for as long as the O'Connells have. Undoubtedly, their patience will not be similar"]
Last year I visited this Red Hook nursery and was deeply tempted by some good looking figs and citrus trees. Word on the gardening grapevine is that all stock has to go and will be deeply discounted, up to 50% off. Many ceramic, terra cotta and wooden planters and containers, tropical plants (being overwintered indoors - including giant brugmansias), fruit trees, vines, perennials, succulents.
Sandor Gubis, the bearlike Hungarian owner, is said to be looking for a new site. He has operated as a contractor from this address for over 20 years, taking his love of plants from hobby to business in 2006.
In summer the garden center is - was - a jungle-thick oasis on a little bay in Red Hook; a sprawling garden and park in its own right. It backs onto Lynden Miller's little waterfront park - to which it grants access at one end - one of my favourite, hidden picnic spots in New York that has small benches fitting two exactly, facing the water, the small, grubby waves, the rocks, the water taxis, the gantries across the water in Jersey.
I'll visit today to find out more.
The Red Hook, Brooklyn address is 204 Van Dyke Street (next to Steve's Key Lime Pie, so stock up there, too). But also accessed via 258 Conover Street, kitty corner from Fairway.
Tel. 718 - 858-3400
The website is already offline.
* Update after visiting: Don't try the phone number - the phones have been cut off. The story is not as simple as it sounded. I was not able to speak to the owner, but it seems business has been very bad. Bills have not been paid. "Everything is half price," said the lady helping me. "Even me."
All plant stock will be moved out by March 31st, and at the moment, although nothing states as much in bold print, the entire stock of the nursery is 50% off. This is a firesale and there are some good things to be had.
I bought a beautiful raspberry plant, below, with six long canes for $15. That is the going rate for a small perennial in this town. I wish I had space for six, and one does not make that much sense on the roof farm, but I have always wanted to grow raspberries. I may return.
There are figs, citrus, roses, blackberries, more raspberries, kiwi vines, many hardy trees, like magnolias, birches and maples, and a lot else besides. Black bamboo.and a lot of tropicals, which are not my thing, but here are clearly a subject of passion.
This is a very good time to go and buy plants, pots, soil, organic fertilizer - all selling at half their retail value. Not a happy time, but useful for a gardener on a tight budget.
Take CASH*. No phone lines means no credit cards. And be prepared to wait, and to show yourself around. One salesperson had to deal with all the customers and it took time.
Addendum: The O'Connell Organization's statement, per their Facebook discussion: