A City in Bloom

One of my favorite everyday experiences in Manhattan is walking past a florist. I love being greeted by the short blast of fresh, verdant aroma that wafts through the door. It is a smell that is packed with nostalgia for celebrations, performances, and special life events. It has been a joy to step into some of these shops, be enveloped by the scent, and learn the stories of the people who work with flowers on a daily basis.

In the mid-twentieth century, most of the florists congregated on one block in Chelsea: 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. That stretch and the surrounding area are still referred to as the “Flower District.” While some of the original wholesale flower businesses have managed to hang onto their homes in this area (Foliage Garden), quality florists can now be found scattered throughout the city.

We have put together a list of some of the flower shops that have dazzled us, from Greenwich Village up through Plant Shed on 96th Street. The florists’ stories are as varied as the petals of a flower. Bella Meyers at Fleurs Bella discovered flower arranging as the perfect outlet. She had an eye for color and shape, possibly inherited from her grandfather, the artist Marc Chagall. At Flowers of the World, CEO Peter’s signature arrangement is put together with only one shade at a time. Some florists embraced flowers later in life. Nic Faitos of Starbright Floral Design worked on Wall Street for many years before pursuing his true passion. Others were born into the business, including the three brothers of Scott’s Flowers. Although each of these people might have gone down a different path to ultimately find themselves immersed in the world of flowers, there is no doubt that they all share a common passion for them.