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Bloom That 1 Florists Garment District Midtown West Tenderloin

Bloom That’s goal is to make sending gifts of love and appreciation a lot easier and more prevalent. California natives David Bladow and Matthew Schwab started the company in 2013 after both experiencing frustration while trying to send flowers to their girlfriends. The online concept began developing in David’s San Francisco apartment on Valentine’s Day with a stock of about a thousand roses. That day, he sold one hundred bouquets in an hour. Bloom That has since been called the “Uber for flowers,” providing customers with a quick and user-friendly way of delivering bouquets and other small gifts to loved ones, clients, and co-workers.

Bloom That expanded to New York in 2015. The company guarantees a ninety-minute on-demand delivery to select portions of San Francisco and New York, as well as nationwide shipping. I met Dana Faello, the general manager for the New York branch, while planning an event at Bene Rialto. She explained that part of what makes Bloom That special is the carefully curated list of options. There are usually only six seasonal on-demand bouquets at any time, meaning that users are not overwhelmed when selecting flowers. The app also sends status updates for the delivery. The company prioritizes local and sustainable blooms whenever possible - during the winter, New York receives many of its flowers from California.

I was speaking to Dana only a year after the New York office opened, a time which the company spent in what Dana called “scrappy start-up mode.” She related the months spent working in a production office in Union Square, “building and growing.” Luckily, through the app Pivotdesk, which pairs up startups and companies with extra space, Bloom That discovered Bene Rialto. Dana described it as a perfect fit: “The aesthetics of fashion brands and the flower business are very similar.”

Aside from making the process of gift-giving a lot easier, Bloom That stands out from other florists and delivery companies thanks to its “irreverent and cheeky” voice. Dana explained that the company is devoted to embracing life’s little moments, no matter how obscure, including Best Friends Day arrangements in June and “Roses and rosé” to celebrate summer. Succulents are always available for those who prefer longevity and minimalism to color and petals. Bloom That has also started offering add-ons to their bouquets that veer away from the traditional chocolates and teddy bears: For Fourth of July, the website had packets of sparklers, pumpkins were made available for Halloween (with witty “cruelty-free stickers” that made carving unnecessary), and on Mother’s Day, Adam Mansbach’s book Go the Fuck to Sleep was listed as an add-on. “We do anything to make people laugh,” Dana said.

I was happy to learn that along with corporate clients (for whom Bloom That often does “Bloom Bars,” allowing guests to make their own bouquets) and individuals, Bloom That does a lot of work with small businesses, who use them as a personal florist for their store. Dana believes that the company is a great resource for local businesses because it offers a good price point and a quick and easy process. “Technology isn’t going anywhere, so let’s use it.” After a pause, she added, “I love the idea that we’re helping people be thoughtful.”

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Bloom That 1 Florists Garment District Midtown West Tenderloin
Bloom That 2 Florists Garment District Midtown West Tenderloin
Bloom That 3 Florists Garment District Midtown West Tenderloin
Bloom That 4 Florists Garment District Midtown West Tenderloin
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Bloom That 7 Florists Garment District Midtown West Tenderloin

More places on 38th Street

Lost Gem
Arno Ristorante 1 Italian undefined

Arno Ristorante

Before discussing anything about Arno with the Manhattan Sideways team in the summer of 2017, the manager, Carlos Pereira, spoke like a true local. He lamented the state of New York’s transportation infrastructure, insurance, taxes, and cleanliness, only to then reveal that he commutes each day from his home in New Jersey. After receiving our education on the state of 38th Street, we learned a bit about this extraordinary man's career. Born in Portugal, where he was a bartender at age sixteen, he traveled to New York in 1989. He scored a position at the legendary Le Cirque  (in its original location) - ”I received the best culinary education in America by owner Sirio Maccioni" - before becoming the manager of Arno in 2007. Carlos had plenty to share with us about Arno, which he did over meticulously prepared dishes, including a rare treat of risotto with shaved truffles. It was like a bowl of diamonds being set down before us. As we savored every single bite, Carlos gave us a lesson on the world of black and white truffles. The story of Arno traces back to Florence, near the Arno River from which the restaurant draws its name. There, the two founders met and discovered a mutual ambition. Managing partners Milan Licul and Branko Turcinovic emigrated to the U. S. as waiters, but soon opened a restaurant called Morano in 1984. Morano was later renamed Delmonico’s Kitchen, and was followed only a year later by Arno. While Delmonico’s Kitchen specializes in meats and steaks, Arno is known for its old-school, classic Italian cuisine. There were many challenges in the years between 1984 and the present that could not be shrugged off by restaurants in the Garment District. Carlos related that this particular swath of New York has seen countless restaurants come and go, and yet the owners held fast to Arno. Even in the 1980s, when the area was bad enough that Arno often had to close by 7pm, the restaurant remained "a true testament to who they were, " Carlos proudly stated. The staff wear the neighborhood as a badge of honor, subtly adorning the restaurant with buttons and thread inset into tables, a wall of colorful fabrics, fashion photos - "This is what keeps us sexy, " according to Carlos - and various other garment motifs. So how has Arno endured the trials of time? Carlos believes it is “because we treat clients like family. ” This approach certainly cultivates a comfortable atmosphere, as Carlos claimed that ninety percent of their dedicated clientele are regular customers. In addition to the lengthy list of fashion designers and celebrities that Carlos recited, he told us that many come into the city for Knicks games and other events at Madison Square Garden, and stop by Arno for a familiar meal of traditional homemade pastas, eggplant rollatini, grilled zucchini, tomato, mozzarella and peppers, veal parmigiana, numerous seafood options, and, of course, the Delmonico classic steak. Carlos even shared that they have over 150 "house accounts, " a rarity in the present day. What struck a particular chord with me was the dessert cart that strolls through the restaurant at every meal, as I have fond memories of this practice from when I dined out as a child. It is filled with some of the best classic desserts prepared by their French pastry chef and, like the restaurant itself, is animated by the spirit of the old country, but seasoned with the flavor of New York.

Lost Gem
Archer Hotel 1 Hotels undefined

Archer Hotel

Having a personal guided tour by sales manager, Jason Sturtevant, made me aware of many details I might otherwise have never learned, as well as making my experience at The Archer a superb one. Since the hotel is located in what was once the thriving, garment district, the interior of the lobby is designed to be reminiscent of the 1940s, with large steel structures stylishly cutting through the room. The entrance features a small bar, Bugatti, named after the brand of restauranteur, David Burke’s beloved car. With a garage-style door that opens to the street in warmer weather, and a bright yellow decor, the atmosphere of the bar is charming and laid back. Viewing several different rooms, Jason explained that each one displays slight variations of beautiful designs and color schemes. Averaging 200 square feet, the rooms, as Jason put it, are “intimate in size, in true New York fashion. ” The use of the space has been done in an elegant fashion with the floor-to-ceiling windows working wonders to open up the rooms. Many have hardwood floors and exposed brick walls, creating a tasteful and stylish atmosphere throughout. While guests will not meet the eponymous Archer, who functions as “the personification of gracious hospitality, ” they are certain to feel his presence during their stay. Each room is made ready for arrival with a personalized note, bottled New York City water, his and her robes and slippers, and a selection of books, including Archer favorites Gift From The Sea and The Little Prince. There is a well-stocked minibar with one side of the fridge allowing for personal storage, and complimentary espresso and grab-and-go coffee are available in the lobby. Encouraging their guests to work out “with New Yorkers, like New Yorkers, ” Archer also offers passes to a nearby gym. Additionally, the Archer is environmentally conscious with sensors and efficient solutions for saving energy implemented throughout the building. The selection of art found in the hotel is remarkable. Curated by art consultant Deborah Davis Goodman, almost every piece on display in the Archer was created by New York artists. This commitment to supporting local artists and businesses is further established in the curated retail section at the front of the hotel where jewelry, trays, sea salt caramels, and pocket squares, all made by New York City artisans, are proudly on display. From the captivating art to the jar of homemade peanut brittle, it is the impressive attention to detail that makes the Archer stand out. The New York City Archer opened at the end of May 2014, and two more hotels are expected to open in Napa, California and Austin, Texas by 2016. Filled with personal touches, the hotel certainly comes across as welcoming, detail-oriented, and cohesively designed. Having gained four diamonds by AAA and in the process of getting its four star rating from TripAdvisor, the Archer seems to have already established itself amongst the favored New York City boutique hotels.

Lost Gem
Hecht Sewing Machine & Motor 1 Sewing Founded Before 1930 undefined

Hecht Sewing Machine & Motor

Do not be fooled by the curiosities and vintage artifacts that cover the windows and walls of Hecht. Besides repairing industrial sewing machines, this company is in the business of buying and selling plants (the manufacturing kind). The vintage pieces scattered throughout the small space are absolutely not for sale, but rather a part of the owner’s personal collection. As I walked around and examined the curiosities, he insisted that he uses "every single one of them. "The owner bristled when I described the fascinating space as "small" and proceeded to show me that there was much more to Hecht than meets the eye. He opened a door in back, which gave way to a much larger, warehouse-like room, which was similarly jam-packed with vintage artifacts. He immediately walked over to a Howe sewing machine, which he proudly disclosed was the first of its kind in the world. He had just gotten it back from the Smithsonian, he said, showing me the official museum tags. While so much is continuously changing around them, the Hecht family is determined to remain a Garment District institution, having opened their doors between 1910 and 1920. The ambiguous establishment date is not because the owner does not care to remember, but rather because Hecht opened its doors as the building in which it still stands was being constructed. "They built around us as we worked, " the owner explained. They are the very definition of a neighborhood institution; As the owner says, "In the garment industry, we're a legend. "