By Claudie Benjamin
There’s big news from Flowers on the Park, an eye-catching presence as you proceed toward Central Park from Columbus Avenue on the south side of 86th Street. Champagne is in order.
Responding to the latest trend among Upper West Siders and other New Yorkers, Flowers on the Park has signed a lease for a 3x-larger space at 520 Amsterdam Avenue. By mid-August, customers will be able to come in to enjoy an espresso or cappuccino along with a pastry fashioned by a to-be-announced bakery. “Who doesn’t want to have a coffee in a flower shop” says Avi Tamir who owns Flowers on the Park with his wife Shlomit.
Today the Upper West Side shop is filled with huge branches of cherry blossoms and yellow forsythia and plentiful orchids making you feel like you are entering a garden. Soon, with the move, there will be even more flowers and plants.
The couple is originally from Israel. They opened their first shop, the one on Columbus Avenue 23 years ago. This spot of brightness and luxury in what was then a very run down UWS, was followed by one on Lexington Avenue and another in midtown on 43rd street and 10th Avenue. The couple works in the 86th Street shop almost every day of the week. The Lexington Avenue flower shop is managed by Dakel, their 25-year-old daughter.
Regular customers include both local residents buying a bunch of lavender colored lilacs or long-stemmed pink roses to the management of apartment buildings on West End Avenue and Central Park West where fresh bouquets of flowers are delivered on a weekly basis and seasonal flowers and shrubs are planted to border the buildings. With regular customers like these, the selection of what flowers to put into the bouquet and its arrangement is left to the florist. “It’s hard to be different 52 weeks of the year, but you try your best.”
Brash extravaganzas are not in order here, Avi describes the style of arrangements created at Flowers on the Park as: “always very elegant, chic. People who buy here have taste.” In response to a speculation that people buy flowers to cheer them up in bad times such as the pandemic, Shlomit agrees. Avi says the orders from apartment houses have remained pretty much unchanged.
Avi started out in the business of wholesale flowers and plants and then decided to open his own retail business. The store favors no flowers as long as they are of very high quality. The flowers come from all over the world: Sweet peas and peonies from Japan, other blooms from France and Italy with Holland being the biggest international supplier.
Now that weddings and large gatherings are resurging with more freedom related large group gatherings, orders of flowers are following. Overall, discussing choice of colors and flowers for bouquets and flower arrangements, “We encourage the wedding organizers to bring an inspirational picture. It makes everything much easier.”