When the two bridges embrace all of Astoria Park, a lush, well-populated recreation area old as the neighborhood itself, another finger of public lands extends north of Hell Gate called Ralph Demarco, recently developed with the help of nearby Con Edison to spruce up the rather bleak city projects across the street.
-- Lionel Shriver, Checker and the Derailleurs
He scraped his change up off the bar, having a little trouble with the dimes because he'd chopped off the tips of his fingernails with a penknife just this morning as part of a general effort to spruce up his image.
-- T. Coraghessen Boyle, Drop City
Spruce has an unusual history. It literally meant "from Prussia" (or Pruce). It came to be associated with the tree which was brought by Prussian merchants to England. The sense of "to make dapper" came about from a type of coat, the spruce jerkin, that was made with leather from Prussia.