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Visit Manhattan's Flower District

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by Dora Bona (subscribe)
A freelance writer, and amateur photographer Dora also teaches creative writing classes. Check out her website at
Published April 16th 2011
To the locals, it's "the flower market" or just "the market". For more than a century, clustered mainly along twenty eighth street, is a luxuriant oasis of fresh cut and dried flowers, branches and a myriad tangle of every type of fragrant foliage you could imagine. Mini jungles of palms, ficus and other leafy trees huddle together, advertising their respective vendors. Sadly though, The Flower District is one of the last specialty commercial districts left in Manhattan.

Once strictly a wholesale venue, the flower district has fallen victim to hard times, and now welcomes walk-in customers too or indeed anyone who wants to buy.

Where once there were more than 60 flower wholesalers, there are now only 32, according to Gary Page, president of the trade group, the Flower Market Association.
Gary Page, President of the Flower Market Association

Apartment buildings and other developments are slowly but surely swallowing up a once thriving organization.

Still a bustling business district however, the area is frequented by designers, retailers buying stock for their stores, hotels, wedding and function planners. Some of the flora is sourced locally, but most is imported from countries like The Netherlands, South America, Israel and New Zealand.

Despite the current troubles in the flower district, in true loyal New York fashion, many Manhattan-ites still prefer the old-fashioned, sociable way in which business unfolds there. To them, buying quality flowers is still a matter of touch, smell and trust. One such loyalist is Seth Cohen, a designer for Atlas Floral Decorators in Manhattan. He is the in-house florist at the Pierre Hotel, each month buying 30,000 stems as they're known in the business.

One of the great things about the Flower District is that you know when you've found it.
When you stumble upon the Flower District, you feel like a kid in a candy store. A quick tour of the market, will have you sailing past a perky, fresh purplish-blue sea of hydrangeas. The fragrance of the fat, butter-colored narcissus is intoxicating. There is a steady traffic of trucks loading and unloading merchandise even before dawn.

Banks of pussy willows line the street and the sweet, wet smell of commingled flowers permeates everything. Splashes of color arrest your senses - yellow tulips, bales of pink magnolias, velvety ruby red roses and huge bunches of multi colored dahlias spill from the storefronts. If you're lucky enough, you'll get to see some exquisite orchids, the rare diamonds of the flower world. As well as the flora, vendors supply pots vases in all shapes and sizes, bamboo, branches and all manner of merchandise to complement your purchases.

Like the beautiful produce sold there, the Flower District seems to have a limited life span. It's a shame to think that it will probably wither and die soon.
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Why? Because flowers make you happy
When: Dawn till dusk
Where: 28th Street between 7th Ave and Broadway
Cost: Varies depending on what you buy
Yeah it's really sad about the flower district. I still love it though and you just feel kinda happy when you hang around that area.
By sherr22 - reader
Wednesday, 20th of April @ 11:02 pm
I love the flower markets too. I'd been living in Manhattan for 6 months before I knew they existed.
By tmaugney - reader
Thursday, 21st of April @ 01:43 am
Why does it say 28th at 7th and the map marker is at 59th?
By barbw - reader
Thursday, 2nd of June @ 12:53 pm
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