I keep a janky little spreadsheet of all my favorite NYC places on my Google drive. It’s completely unorganized (I should really get around to at least categorizing it at some point…) but it gets the job done when I want to hit up a new place I’ve been dying to try or come up with the perfect dinner suggestion for someone coming into town.
I had a thought—it’s kind of crazy that I haven’t been sharing more of my favorite NYC spots here on the blog. I mean, that’s how I find some of my favorite spots in the city—from bloggers and Instagrams (Jackie from York Avenue always discovers the cutest places!). So I’ve resolved to share more of my favorite spots to eat, shop and see with a new NYC-centric series. First up? The NYC Flower District. Located on 28th Street (at 6th ave), the flower district is pretty much Heaven on earth for anyone who likes flowers. The street is lined with shops selling all sorts of gorgeous blooms (everything from your basic peonies to exotic Caribbean rainforest buds) and the sidewalks are taken over by all different forms of bushes, shrubbery and baby trees.
Duck into any of the shops (G Page is my favorite!) and you can walk away with something as small as a bouquet of tulips for your apartment, to a full-blown spread of flowers fit for the fanciest of engagement parties. The variety (and sheer number of shops and flowers) can get overwhelming, however. As someone who is there at least once nearly every week to pick up flowers for work shoots, there are a few tips I’ve learned along the way to make this NYC gem a bit more user-friendly! FLOWER MARKET DOs and DON’Ts
1. Start early
Believe it or not, the best time to hit the flower market is around 7:30 a.m. Yikes, I know—pretty early right? Thing is, this is also a stop on every major florist’s daily to-do list, so if you show up any time past, say, 10 a.m., you run the risk of getting leftover flowers that have been picked through and likely won’t last as long. Go as early as your schedule will allow in order to snag the best stems!
2. Make friends
If you’re unsure of what you’re looking for, make friendly with the people running the shops. They really know what they’re talking about, and can help you narrow in on everything from the right flower for your arrangement to the price-per-stem and how to care for your flowers. Trust me, you really want to buddy up—these are the guys that are going to steer you away from the $18-a-stem French peonies and towards the $18 a bunch California ones.
3. Wrap, don’t box
This being NYC and all, you can expect to have to carry around whatever you buy (typically wrapped in brown butcher paper or in a large long box) for at least a few minutes, if not longer. Take it from someone who has wacked one-too-many angry New Yorkers: don’t have them wrap your flowers in a box. It may be a good choice if you have especially delicate flowers, but otherwise, the care they wrap the flowers up with in butcher paper will suit you just fine. It’s much easier to carry and acts as bonus surface coverage for when you get them back to home so you don’t dirty your counters.
4. Check the number of stems
Often, flowers at the market are wrapped in huge bouquets of 50+ stems. If you look at the bottom of the bushel, you’ll notice that usually they’re broken down into smaller tied portions of 5-10 stems, all held together by one large elastic. Make sure to ask how many stems of each flower you’re required to buy. You’ll save yourself money and cut down on flowers that would otherwise go to waste.
5. Hit up the ATM
Before you go, make sure you have some cash on hand. Unless you have a corporate account or are a tax exempt vendor (like a professional florist), most places will only accept cash from you. I also haven’t seen many ATMs in the immediate vicinity of most of my favorite shops, so it’s best to go prepared.
6. Think outside the vase
Maybe this goes without saying, but the flower district boasts way more than just flowers! There are specialty shops, like Jamali Garden Shop, that are great go-tos for seasonal items, vases, centerpiece setups and everything in-between. There are also nurseries that sell things like succulents or willow branches or Christmas trees year-round. Long story short, you can pretty much find anything you need.
For flowers, try: G Page Wholesale Flowers or J Rose Flowers. For greens/succulents/air plants (and those coveted fiddle leaf fig trees!) try: Noble Planta, US Evergreens Inc or Foliage Paradise Inc. For exotic plants (we’re talking pink pineapples and banana stalks, here!), try: Caribbean Cuts. For every supply under the sun, try: Jamali Floral and Garden Shop.