I was no stranger to the Flower Market, but this was 2E's first time shopping in the district -- perhaps her first time shopping for flowers, ever. Although she'd worked in and around the neighborhood when we lived in the city, this stretch of West 28th Street was an utter mystery. It was almost as if these vendors (Rodem Flower, Associated Cut Flowers, G. Page & Major Wholesale) and the thousands of bagged and potted plants and flowers lining both curbs had magically appeared.
Jeremy knows the Flower Market the way Joanna knows the sixth season of Will & Grace -- inside and out. The retailers all know him by name and vice versa. He moved through each shop with grace and purpose and know-how while 2Es and I (his couple in tow) stumbled over boxes and cables and ogled every colorful wall of flowers that we came across. Not surprisingly, there are many.
In the hour we spent combing the racks of spray roses and gerber daisies, 2Es transformed from window shopper to informed decision-maker. She needed only a brief introduction before she knew precisely what she wanted. She'd ask my opinion occasionally, but this was one element of the planning that I was pleased to leave entirely in her hands. I was happy, for that single hour on 28th Street, to play the aloof, uninterested fiance.
Overall, 2Es was impressed by the vibe of the market -- the haggling, sure, but also the speed of the transactions, the chummy buyer-seller relationships, and the dichotomy of dozens of hydrangea sitting street-side and the back room freezers full of fresh cut flowers.
For me, it was people like Jeremy, the ambassadors of the Flower Market. In my twisted mind, Jeremy is like the John Nash of floral design. I walk the market, and I see flowers; he walks the market, and he sees arrangements. He can envision the final product. We see colors and stems and leaves. He sees opportunities.
Photos by Brian Leahy for Joanna Wilson Photography