Monday, July 16, 2007

The Floral District (and its demise)

On 28th St between 6th and 7th Avenues you'll find NYC's Floral District, one of the last wholesale districts in Manhattan. Here you'll discover thousands of orchids and other live plants, exotic cut flowers, a good selection of branches and all the related supplies from pots, vases to floral wire. This unique place bustles with activity from about 6 in the morning until about noon when the florists and designers have finished their buying for the day. Most of the shops stay open past then for retail customers, but a few of the larger cut flower dealers simply close up shop.

The Floral District is where I bought my first bundles of branches, back in 2002. Then, the residential high-rises were just starting to sprout along 6th Avenue. Even then, trouble for the floral district was brewing. Now, however, 6th Avenue is a forest of high rises and the new buildings are popping up along the side streets, including 28th Street, displacing many of the floral businesses.

On an island where parking spaces go for as much as $225,000, such changes are inevitable. The Fulton Fish Market headed from South Street to the Bronx a few years ago, the packing houses in the Meatpacking District are being replaced with swanky clubs and boutiques (whose patrons apparently don't mind the scent of blood and tallow on a hot August night), and the Garment District, just north of the Floral District exists primarily in name only. Surely the Floral District will come together again somewhere else, but another unique spot in Manhattan will be lost.

If you are in NYC or are visiting, head on over to the Floral District while you still can. Whether it is an orchid (virtually all of them max out at $35 and they are of spectacular quality), a great vase from Jamali Garden, or the perfect Manzanita branch, you'll find something you love and experience a bit of Manhattan that is bound to disappear shortly.

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