Last week, Jay and I finally got to check out Build it Green NYC. It is a non-profit group that collects salvaged and surplus building materials, and sells them to the public for low prices.
The location is a bit of a bear (the northwestern corner of Astoria); then again, if you want cheap prices in New York City, you have to expect to get off the beaten path. The great news is that they will store your purchases for seven days. If you have to rent a car or truck (which is what New Yorkers usually have to do), you can do it after you’ve bought your goods. You don’t have to worry about spending money on a car rental only to find there’s nothing at the store you want to buy.
In addition to construction materials such as lumber, sheet goods, flooring, windows and doors, they also have a selection of furniture items like chairs and tables.
A props person would also be interested in their selection of appliances, like stoves, fridges, and other items. They’re a little more expensive than what you might find on Craigslist or other classifieds, as they only sell working items; often, your show doesn’t require an operating fridge, and you can save money hauling away something destined for the landfill. But don’t forget that you may need a fridge for your backstage area to keep prop food and consumables cold.
For those bathroom scenes in your production, they have several aisles dedicated to sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and an assortment of other accouterments from both residential and commercial restrooms.
If you go, don’t forget to check out their side room filled with books, records, other media, and paint.
You can find a number of unique and smaller items as well. There’s an area up front filled with the kind of sundries you might find in a thrift store or flea market. It also appears that display companies donate items, as we saw a number of mannequins as well as giant fruit sculptures.
Obviously, they accept donations. So in addition to reusing items that would have ended up in a landfill, you can also make sure the stuff you’re getting rid of stays out of a landfill. There’s a list of accepted donation items, which will also give you a better idea of the kinds of things they normally carry.