New York City: The Flower District

Posted: 8 years ago | By: Christine Somers | In: Pride Of Place | Read Time: 3 minutes, 4 seconds

{Dutch Flower Line}

For years I imagined the NYC flower market to be a large warehouse type building with stalls for vendors; an imagining solely based on my experience with the farmer's market of my youth.  As I learned the New York City flower market is really more of a district and is located on West 28th between 6th and 7th Avenue. This past Wednesday I took a crowded, early morning train to West 28th and walked only a few step before I was immersed in flowers and people who make their living from flowers. I was a meanderer in the middle of wedding florists, restaurateurs and designers. 

In the spring, flowers and plants spill out on to the sidewalk and at times even on to the street. Trees laden with kumquats mingle with containers of box shrubs and rosemary. Trays and trays of lemongrass are stacked up against the wall and I had to resist the urge to tote home a flat of lemongrass. I kept asking how many smoothies' I would have to make to use up an entire flat and ultimately decided too many to justify following through on my impulse?  

Flowers of vibrant spring colors are stacked on shelves, clustered together in buckets or loose in boxes segregated by type. It is all reminiscent of an artist's new paintbox. The raw material is alluring and delightful but an artist or designer can blend and unite color and texture to create an exciting aesthetic. If you want to see an example of what I am talking about, take a moment to stop into Gramercy Tavern sometime to see the floral displays that will greet you. 

I knew many of the flowers on display, tulips, roses and even the peonies. I was introduced to peonies while working in China. These beautiful flowers don't grow in Florida; they can't stand the heat. The people of the Republic of China love these flowers so much they made them their national flower. 



Whole stores are dedicated to a single family of flowers. Orchids filled one entire wall of this shop coupled with assorted other hothouse varieties. 


My favorite were these purple, pink and orange combo beauties and I even asked their name so I could share it with you but candidly, I got the spelling wrong. I spelled it so badly that Google can't even rescue me, so if you know please drop me a note. I adore them but failed to purchase a single one. They were ten dollars apiece and for some reason I felt the price was extreme and walked away. Next time I will take the plunge and bring a single flower home to enjoy.  

Interspersed between the flower shops were outlets for all the things you could think of to create floral arrangements or displays. Silk umbrellas, glass containers, cement planters and wood structures were hanged from the ceiling, stacked on shelves or leaned against the wall. 

I had to include this photo of all the ribbon. The emotion I felt walking upon the sight of so much ribbon organized neatly by color was one that Marty shared with me on occasion when he walks into a local hardware store. The meticulous organization and the potential to create are overwhelming. Neatness does count!!

While many of the stores have a minimum purchase requirement of twenty-five dollars, "retail" shoppers are welcome. Next time you are in the City, I encourage you to head over to the Flower District. I believe it will be worth your time and will lift your spirits to be surrounded by such beauty and energy.