Mother’s Day! It’s this Sunday! What to get Mom, what to get Mom, think think think… Flowers, duh, but they’re kind of a yawn, right? Sort of unthoughtfully thoughtful. Unless of course, you order her an amazingly dynamic bouquet from Flower Girl NYC. Since 2004, Flower Girl NYC has been putting together fantastic and whimsical arrangements for New Yorkers in the know. There’s a great business backstory here, too: founder and owner Denise Porcaro was a Production Designer for feature films, but discovered a creative outlet in fresh flowers. She started out crafting personalized arrangements and bouquets for a select group of clients and friends but over time, demand for her unique style grew through word-of-mouth praise and Flower Girl NYC sprouted from there.These aren’t your Granny’s old begonias and baby’s breath, either! They focus on what is available seasonally, along with custom designs that feature wildflowers, seasonal branches, unusual vases, beautiful plants, as well as handmade candles and soaps. And the finished product is refined, tasteful, lovely and totally uncommon. Coincidentally, all qualities we should remember to tell Ma she is on Mother’s Day.
For years out and about in the East Village, I’ve noticed this curious little florist hanging off the side of the magazine and smoke shop at the corner of East 6th and Second Avenue. I’ve seen it open during the day as well as when I’m coming home pretty late into the night. Like midnight late…which is not really that late. BUT, what florist stays open until midnight?!? Sunny’s Florist does and its proprietor, Sun Ja Hwong, is kind of brilliant at what she does. Lesa, Lu and I were walking home from dinner at Mermaid (fail) Saturday night and, for the first time, we picked up this bundle of loveliness for a whopping 10 bucks. Score!According to The Times, Ms. Hwong sees herself as the “mother of flowers” and it shows. This lady isn’t about the over-the-top ridiculous floral concoctions you’d see at your cousin Gino’s wedding in Cliffside Park. Nope. She keeps it low key and super tasteful with exquisitely put together arrangements of roses, hyacinths, hydrangeas and tulips mixed in with some gorgeous and green leafy things. And the kicker is she plants a few buds in each bouquet, so while other batches of flowers you’ve picked up for your darlin’ over the years would be rotting in the trash after a day or two, Ms. Hwong’s remain a stunning, week-long reminder to your sweetheart of how goddamn excellent you are for choosing a gift as ridiculously beautiful and smart-looking as this. So next time you’re close, go buy something at Sunny’s Florist. Totally worth it, even if you have to sidetrack for a block or three.
New York City is full of sharp edges. Bricks and mortar, steel girders, massive expanses of glass and chain link fences. Left raw, these materials make for a downright brutal place to look at and live. Here’s a sliver of my silver painted roof and chain link fence. Slap a tree, flower or bush into the mix (or all three in massive quantities) and it becomes another room for at least six months out of the year.
Do the same to the city and it becomes a much more palatable place to call home 12 months out of the year. Fan of Mayor Bloomberg or not, his Million Tree Campaign has made a tremendous impact on once aesthetically impoverished neighborhoods. My block in Alphabet City alone had eight new trees planted on it last year. The Bronx has over 150,000 trees planted in areas that were once full of crumbling buildings. Broadway and First, Eighth, Ninth and soon-to-be Second Avenues have trees planted IN islands built to separate bike and car lanes! Really?! Trees in the middle of nasty First Avenue? Kind of amazing. Have you been to Union and Madison Squares lately?
These huge planters tastefully packed with an amazing array of tropical looking leafy things line the edges of the park and surround pedestrian areas that were once potholed throughways to carbon monoxide generating four wheeled machines. And forget about the amazingly lush Hudson River Park which 20 short years ago was a dilapidated falling-into-the-water mess. Just walking down the street in New York City has become a vastly more enjoyable experience with all of these new and growing green friends giving of shade and offering a welcomed juxtaposition to the concrete and glass.