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The 28th Street Flower Market: The Ugliest Beautiful Place in the City

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New York City is strange. Parts of it are downright seedy, others incredibly beautiful. In some instances, both at the same time. Such is the case with  the flower market. Not the quaint Green Market you find in a park on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The ones with the hipster growers who sell their wares wrapped in colored cellophane. I’m talking West 28th street, where at 3:30am, the business of floral beauty starts its day.

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There are attractive streets in Manhattan but West 28th  (between 5th and 7th Avenues) would not be one of them. It’s congested, cramped, smelly, and filled with barren, dirty-floored, florescent-lit storefronts. Its only redeeming quality are the thousands of exotic flowers that line the tattered shelves.

Florists from all over the City shop the market to choose the perfect stems from a myriad of flora. They whisk them away to their posh boutiques where they’re arranged in glass vases and sold for three times what they cost.

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What I love about the flower market, is that you don’t have to be a professional to grab your share of the orchids, tulips and peonies at prices that better than what you’ll pay anywhere else.

Just leave your credit cards behind.

They only deal and cash, and be prepared to wake up early because by 10am, all the good stuff is gone.


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7 replies »

  1. Looking at these I can just imagine the smells. It is a shame when iconic places are displaced at the cost of development. One day the people of Manhattan will wonder why flowers are so expensive. Beautiful!!!

  2. I used to work around the corner from there. I still regret not getting a photo of the sidewalk during the holiday season with the holiday florals dusted by snow… btw, I think the street is threatened by redevelopment but there may be a preservation effort in the works.

  3. The contrasts of New York are always fascinating to me. The beauty of the flowers against the gray of the concrete and metal make the story.

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