Lasting Art, a flower shop where everything is 100% false


Now that it’s summer, the sidewalks of West 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues have been transformed into miniature forests as merchants display their wares for weekend shoppers. Rows of tiny succulents, potted perennials, and even small, graceful Japanese maples are neatly lined up along the sidewalk on both sides of the street. Long serving professional flower arrangers and civic plant enthusiasts, these stores are what remains of New York’s once vast flower district.

Among these impressive living specimens is a tenacious and invasive species. Lasting Art at 110 West 28th Street has been a supplier of the most fantastic variety of flowers and party novelties for nearly a decade.

Inside the narrow but deep storefront, every square inch is filled with everything from the basic (faux flowers in every size, color, and variety imaginable) to the whimsical (chandelier crystals by yard) to the particular (flocked plastic doves per dozen), and suitable for all occasions and tastes. If their decor calls for it, shoppers can choose from an entire back wall devoted to faux leaves, flowers and branches encrusted with glitter and glitter, or from a wide range of plastic citrus fruits (whole and sliced). Plus, almost any milestone in life can be marked with items from Lasting Art’s stock: tiny plastic cakes for weddings, baby showers, and communions come by bag, as well as glitter books, rolls faux pearls and yards of tulle.

For a client, Pamela Baptiste, a trip to Lasting Art is always a happy moment. One recent Saturday, she was there to buy glasses of champagne and a set of knives for a cousin’s wedding. “I came here for my son’s wedding flowers a few years ago and sent them to Trinidad,” she said. “I always come to this store.

As rents continue to rise and idiosyncratic stores continue to disappear, she was relieved to see that Lasting Art was still open, as a similar favorite store had disappeared since her last visit. “I haven’t been here for the whole last year,” she said, “so I was hoping they were still there.”

According to Shannon Flemming-Hamm, floral designer, Lasting Art is more than just a resource; it is also a muse and a dream come true. “It’s a fantasy land,” she said, “because when you walk into the shops in the floral district, you literally walk into a fairy tale.” Surrounded by balls of all kinds, she says, she feels inspired in her work of creating arrangements for events and clients. “There are so many things that grab your attention. It’s like pink, purple, transparent, shiny – it’s really wonderful to go to the stores and see all of these things that are right there that you can use when you’re creating.

As guests are invited to browse, the staff are perpetually busy, taciturn, and efficient, ringing baskets full of flowers for brides and other celebrants and sending them on their way with little fanfare. A permanent testament to the city’s signature mix of business and weirdness, they’re not here to judge anyone who comes in needing dozens of miniature plastic pears; they’re just there to provide it.


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