When I (Shannon) tell you that I have had New York City’s, The Flower District, on my “to do” list for the past four visits to New York City, I am not exaggerating. For some reason, it just has not been in the cards for me to visit this hidden gem. Due to the perfect timing of when you need to get it just right to see the most beautiful blooms, I never seem to be able to fit it in, but this past visit to the big apple… oh dear friends, I fit it in, and let me share with you all the colorful, and beautiful details, on all of the glory of what is, The Flower District.
Some History on The Flower District
The Flower District, which can be found on 28th between 6th and 7th streets on the west side of Manhattan, dates back to almost a century ago. New York operated as one of the biggest merchant-manufacturing centers in the world, in one of the biggest natural harbors in the world, with well-known districts like the meatpacking, garment, and of course, The Flower District. Mostly run by immigrants, Eastern Europe, particularly Greece, identified an untapped market: providing flowers for department stores, funeral homes, and hotels; it has changed a bit since the early days.
The meatpacking district, the diamond and garment districts are all reduced to tiny versions of their former selves, The Flower District remains, though still, smaller than it was. It used to take up many blocks- all the way up to 34th street.
Many immigrants still work in The Flower District these days. The clients have changed. The flower shops in the district still sell to hotels, retail stores, wedding and funeral clients, but now they make a living selling to clients from Christian Louboutin and Barney’s for window displays, just to name a few of the biggies. A client that is unexpected, is on the rise, and one that I’m sure they hadn’t planned, is the influencer.
A New Day for The Flower District
Perhaps the flower shop owners in the 19th century would have had a difficult time understanding the term, influencer, but they sure wouldn’t have minded making a profit from them. As it turns out, the Instagrammable photo op is becoming quite the niche for the flower industry. Small fashion houses, people working to set up films, photo shoots, events, and Instagram popups all want greenery and gorgeous flowers for these moments. The Flower District is having that moment, and is capitalizing on it!
The Gorgeousness of The Flower District
Look, flowers are pretty, but these flowers are in abundance! There is a street of flowers, people! Take a look at this reel we created for it in motion, and of course, there are photos in this blog post, but, there is something about the concrete jungle of Manhattan, and then seeing all of these gorgeous flowers and greenery in bulk, all together that is just magical! I was concerned that since it was late October, that there wouldn’t be much to see, but I was wrong.
Once you step into the area where all of the shops are, you immediately begin to inhale mother nature’s most desirable scents. It’s truly something to behold. The sidewalks are covered with carts of flowers, plants, and the shops have window displays that are also decorated. Many show the bulk flowers with colors inside with the staff working, so you truly cannot escape the beauty. On the street are trucks, waiting to take flowers to their destination. For some reason, those don’t get in your way, nor do you care. You are so thrilled by the view of all the loveliness.
Know Before You Go to The Flower District
There is a reason that it took me so many trips to get to the flower district. Due to the clientele that they serve, they have limited hours. They open early, and close early. Most of the florists are not open on weekends. If there is a specific florist you are looking for, you can check the hours of that florist. I am going to give you tips on the flower district as a whole.
- Most of the shops in the district operate between the hours of 6am-10am, Monday-Friday. If you arrive in the district after 10am, it’s really a waste of your time. You won’t get the full experience, so don’t bother. Just make time to go early in the morning.
- Since you are arriving in the morning, there are a few coffee shops, and places you can grab a bite. Do that, and walk around while you peruse through the district. There are a ton of hotels on 28th, and plenty offer coffee and breakfast as well. If you make your way over to 29th, there are also a lot more options.
- We always recommend being an eco-friendly traveler. Be sure to bring a cloth bag, or tote if you are planning on making a purchase from the florists.
- Don’t be a jerk! Look, the flower district is a great place to take photos. It is Instagram-heaven for photo ops. Just don’t take up the vendors’ time and space for photo ops and be disrespectful. Even if you are traveling by plane, you can always buy a succulent to take home with you. Better yet, you can purchase a plant/flowers to give to someone who has been kind to you during your trip. The store owners are trying to make a living. It is wonderful that you are able to get fun, gorgeous pics in front of their fabulous flowers. So, be sure to tag their store, thank them, and make a purchase- even if it is a small one.
This isn’t just one of those recommendations that we are saying to add to your bucket list for New York City. We are recommending you add it to your list, and then when you return, go back. We plan to keep it on our schedule. I, personally, cannot wait to see the flowers change seasonally. I want to experience all of the blooms, and scents in the district each visit.
Looking for other things to do in NYC? You might find these interesting:
We always recommend Club Quarters Hotel: World Trade Center as a great place to stay!