Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Flowers by Philip

In Bloomberg's New York, even the businesses that cater to the rich are being given the boot.

Reader Dan let us know about Flowers by Philip. After 45 years at 1141 Madison Avenue, plus another decade in business overall, the second-generation florist has lost their lease.

Luckily, they found a new spot over on Lexington.

As the Times reported in 2009, even luxury stores can't afford the sky-high rents of Madison Avenue. It's the same story that's happening everywhere--small, old businesses are being kicked out to make room for more and more global chain stores.

Flowers by Philip is real Upper East Side--old and posh. Says the website: "Flowers by Philip is owned and operated by Philip Mercedes continuing a family tradition begun by his own father and the founding of the shop 52 years ago. Flowers by Philip combines the elegance and style of Madison Avenue with the customer service and friendliness of your trusted neighborhood florist."

Designer Paul Martinez, once a poor kid from East Harlem, has worked at Flowers by Philip since 1992. He told the Times in 2010: "This is a family shop, second generation. Jackie Onassis was our client, although I always knew her as Mrs. Kennedy. She liked simple arrangements. Her favorite was lily of the valley; when she passed away, that was what we put on her casket... When Irving Berlin died, we did a casket blanket of white gardenias."

But what was good enough for Jackie O. and Irving Berlin, just isn't good enough for the new New York. It's not Ralph Lauren. It's not Juicy Couture. It's not Abercrombie & Fitch.


Anonymous said...

To say that “small, old businesses are being kicked out to make room for more and more global chain stores” is only part of the story. The global chain stores wouldn’t be able to get these sites and long-term commercial and residential tenants wouldn’t be in fear of losing business and home if the landlords didn’t place profit and avarice before and above all else. Landlords wouldn’t be able to get buyers or renters for these sites if there weren’t people and organizations with more ego and money than is good for them. It says some deeply, terrifyingly sad things about our city, our society, our selves and our future.

Anonymous said...

It's sad to lose a favorite spot, but isn't this what capitalism is all about? New York is now a global city. Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg succeeded beautiful in building it up. They deserve a lot of credit. People want to be in New York, not escape it.

Businesses that do not cater to the people who've succeeded, the movers and shakers who can go from place to place and buy what they want and need probably won't survive. There's nothing wrong with success or with a city becoming better and richer. Everyone wants luxury and a better life.

Don't people think all the rich people will need services? There will be more jobs not fewer, because they create jobs, give money to charities, and build things. New York City is now the envy of America, and people are coming in ever greater numbers. The challenge is, who will keep it going?

Anonymous said...

"Don't people think all the rich people will need services? There will be more jobs not fewer, because they create jobs, give money to charities, and build things. New York City is now the envy of America, and people are coming in ever greater numbers."

This whole notion of the rich creating jobs and trickle down economics is a disgusting, absurd delusion supported by those that want to employ people at the bottom of the ladder. It just underscores the dynamic of keeping the rich comfortable and rich and the poor and working class scraping for whatever they can get.

"Build things"? Yeah, they're 'things' alright.

Those that are coming to New York 'in ever greater numbers' are those that can afford to. My prediction is that in addition to the working class and poor that are being driven ever further from the city center, you're also going to see middle and upper-middle income people, some that have been here for 30 years or more LEAVING the city. The energy is gone, the fabric destroyed, and to quote a very well known New York writer: "there's nothing interesting about a city full of rich people".

Uncle Waltie said...

@5:36: Great Parody. You should write for Letterman.

laura r. said...

some of you dont get jeremiahs point. its not just rich against poor. its corporate vs the individual. whether its a diner for workers, flowers for wealthy, these businesses are personable. they cater to neighorhoods the owners know the customers. they are free to make thier own hours, & do it their own way. (hello, thats the american way)!! yes a 7/11 will create more jobs...but, thats the left wing eminent domain approach. i would prefer the see people selling flowers on the street or in front of their little grosery. indivuals running their own businesses that cater to rich/ middle/ poor. the integrity of the indivual is being attacked w/the excuse of the collectivist. every where in the world, small businesses are closing. corps are taking over, they are in bed w/the govts. its almost like communism. the flower man on lex is lucky he found another location.

laura said...

gee, if i was unskilled worker, i would want to deliever flowers for philip. i would take nice walks, or a bike. i beats being a stock boy @ the gap.

laura said...

hate to mention this, but........@ one time madison avenue was just like lexington ave. small businesses, for the neighborhood. then the big chains moved in: versace, etc etc. @one time madison avenue was closed up on sundays. now its open for the "tourists" lexington ave/some west village is the last vestiges of neigborhood. when those dissapear, manhattan will be like hong kong. what is happening in poor areas is also happening w/the rich. it is foreign banks who are buying the world, including the universities. this is way way beyound blaming all landlords or yunnies, or even bloomberg. he is just one card in a bigger game.

Dave- everywhere said...

Although I sympathize with the store-owner that has lost his lease, he is moving to a different location in the same area. My guess is that he'll continue to sell flowers to his Social Register clientele. Undoubtedly his costs will go up and he'll have to adjust his prices and watch his expenses carefully. Jeremiah, could you re-visit him in a year and see how he is doing?

I think this type of reporting is more impactful when it addresses the displaced store owners and service providers that don't have an option to move. These are the folks that need to have their stories told.

laura said...

dave-everywhere: this is the story of an "avenue" being transformed. please see my comment july 5, 4:23pm. the flower shop was the old madison ave, next we will wait for changes on lexington. jeremiah doesnt discriminate when it comes to "vanishing"!