Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Flower Time in the City

Yesterday being Valentine's Day and all was *the* day for flower sales in Manhattan - and if there's one thing I love, it's flowers.  There are a few different levels of flowers I have gotten over the years.  There are the delivered FTD bouquets that come to the office, the custom florist bouquets for office or home and then the pre-packaged bouquets.

These are the florists prepackaged bouquets.  Very traditional roses with baby's breath.   These are the roses that the florist is trying to salvage from his flower order.  The good ones with lots of petals are inside in the refrigerator.  For these ones, he has stripped off the dying outer petals and added baby's breath.  They are quite lovely and have a lot of petals still left on them so you can get about 3-5 days worth of life out of them.  The problem is, they are sold in bunches of 6.  6 roses is not a dozen.  

These are the deli roses - the ones sold in the buckets outside of the corner deli.  Pick up a sandwich, 6-pack and a bunch of roses - perfect!  These are fun bouquets because they have a mix of flowers.  You get a few of your basic roses, but they also add in any other red or white flower.  You won't see much baby's breath here (it's actually kind of expensive), but you will see lilies, gerbera daisys and those red berries left over from the Christmas wreaths.  These bouquets usually will last 7-10 days because of the lilies and the berries and I actually like them a lot.  I would split up the bouquet and put little bud vases around the house with different flowers in them.

These are my personal favorites - the flower cart roses.  You will find this woman (or her sister) at each and every subway and train station entrance just as rush hour begins on Valentine's day.  She has standard carnation mixes, roses with baby's breath and single roses individually wrapped at a really good price.  It's perfect!  Her flower distributor gets whatever the other guys didn't get from the flower district and she cleans them up and wraps them up for sale.

Maybe I like her best because she is out there "working it", really pushing (literally) her wares to the consumer.  I know that she's probably been up since well before dawn to get the flowers, prepare the flowers and then get her cart from all the way down in the flower district (28th Street) up to the station (125th Street).  And yet she's cheery and bright.  She must really love her family to be out here selling no matter what the weather.  

Some years her daughter sits with her.  During the summer she sells ices (rainbow, coconut, cherry and lemon-lime).  Her daughter is with her most of the time in the summer and her mom is teaching her business, encouraging her reading and summer studies.  They're pretty close.  For New Year's she sells funny glasses and noisemakers.  Whatever the holiday, she has the appropriate accessories for sale - and she loves to bargain the price.

To me, this woman really captured the heart of Valentine's Day with her steadfast, happy and hope-filled attitude.  It's not a flash-in-the-pan, it's her working and caring for family that matters.  It's what keeps her going.

I think that, more than anything, is a really good message for Valentine's Day.  (The love part - not the commerce!)

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