84 Clinton Events – Pre Party

Isabella

Isabella came to the backyard of 84 Clinton with her mother. It was a very special day – they were preparing for a birthday party in Isabella’s honor, to be held the following weekend in our 900 square foot backyard. Her mother had seen the pictures and fell in love with the space she said looked identical to her backyard growing up. While Isabella’s mother was looking around at the yard, discussing table configurations and seating options – Isabella was rolling around in the artificial grass, ostensibly oblivious to anything but the sweet air and the sunshine. We asked Isabella how she felt about turning 5 and she responded by showing us her wand; Slyly changing the conversation away from something of fictive importance – to something of a pressing concern. Her glittery wand tied with ribbon and a found air freshener pod she held delicately in her hands, telling us it came from a mermaid. She told me this with such matter of fact importance it was impossible for me to doubt the story (*ehhem please note I did say the words: “do not put that in your mouth – wash your hands if it bursts etc.) But mostly, we didn’t doubt that this girl, would be just fine.

When we renovated the cement backyard we had no way of imagining Isabella running excitedly back and forth, Stoli close at her heels. But, moments like this take place before each of our events. Our clients come in and look around the yard and ask us questions about what they can expect on the day of the event. We put their minds at ease, telling them about our offerings and when we told Isabella’s mother about our event photography she lit up. As if by echolocation – Isabella, who had been playing noisily on the other side of the fence, popped her head around the edge – smile huge – camera ready. Without being asked she plopped down on our of our couches and struck a pose. And then she struck another pose, and another one. It was a week before the party, but Isabella was ready for pictures now. And so, of course, we obliged.

We are are looking forward to this event! Pictures of the space, and information about how to host your own event at 84 Clinton can be found here.

End of Day Ritual : White Roses

There is a lot of work to do. In a flower shop. Buying flowers, Cleaning flowers, Delivering flowers, Arranging Flowers. Interacting with customers. Fielding phone calls from solicitors, cheerfully transcribing orders from customers. Taking out the Garbage, sweeping up the stems, rearranging the store after the busy mess of the day. Taking pictures of flowers, uploading pictures of flowers, writing captions of flowers. Telling customers to subscribe to our newsletter – suddenly remembering we have a newsletter. These are the chaotic constants but there is another constant – something called “A Lowell”. Named after one of our hotel Clients, we denote either: Small, Medium, or Large.

A spread of white roses in intervals of 12, 25, or 75. Their stems spiraled perfectly to create a dome on top of a low square glass ribboned with a single Aspidistrus. This elegant arrangement delights hotel guests, and gives us a therapeutic moment to think. A muscle memory task of cutting, cleaning, and lovingly nestling the heads of each rose against one another. A peaceful moment to rewind the day. Our minds, are clear. In this moment we sit together and talk: Mostly nonsense, about the day, about each other. Repacking the events of the week and maybe subconsciously our Life (is that dramatic?) These are the moments that reset us. With each other, with ourselves, and with the flowers we are surrounded by.

The consistency forcing stillness upon us, we are grateful. For our clients, our tasks, and for the flowers.

Change: We’re doing it, R U?

In the flower business we experience change in a very unique way. It comes and goes in the form of Seasons. (Okay, so that’s how we all experience change I guess) We see the colors change, the business slow down, and then pick up, and then taper, then skyrocket, and then – it all repeats itself. Change happens in cycles. The notion of change is spurred, (within us as within all people) – by the changing weather. The weather is, of course, the most readily available stimulus to give us humans a pervasive sense that something is different. That there has been a change. I can imagine the first leaf falling, as the integral moment the human psyche woke up and said “what….is…happening..” Out with the old, in with the new. “The winds are a-changing” (said in the most witchy voice you can muster plz). There are countless adages that affirm what we are feeling now: The necessity of Change.

Orange Crush – our most popular seasonal arrangement

We have been a Flower Shop for over 50 years. That’s a long time. In this time, we’ve experienced lots of seasons, and have experienced them in multiple locations. The Upper West Side, Upper East Side, and for the last 20ish years, the Lower East Side. Now with this new location, we are feeling the winds of change with a heightened sense of clarity. It is true, the only constant in this crazy life (and crazy industry) is change.

Have we gone too far?

Pictured: Us going too far

Amidst some rather wacky activity on our part, we’ve started toying with a question: Do you know when you’ve reached the edge of insanity? And if so, what are the tell tale signs? Something tells us that there is a slow inkling – a creeping suspicion that lingers in the air above your head and then poof – erupts in a glorious self actualization: a resounding “No”. By this time of course, it is much too late and the answer is most certainly “yes”. The only thing to hint at this is that slow upheaval of self that begs you to ask the question in the first place. So here we are, at the beginning – Have we gone too far? Are we, in fact, insane?

The doll thing started as a joke, but we quickly got carried away. They tell you that naming something will give you attachment issues. Is this how God felt? Naming each creature? Is that why we’re allowed to get away with all the shenanigans we pull, because after naming us God just can’t seem to….. let us go. That’s how we are with these Dolls. We bought them, we laughed at the absurdity. We brushed their hair, we laughed a little harder. We stood them up on a shelf and when people cringed at the sight of them, we laughed even harder – but then – we defended them. “They’re not so bad once you get to know them.” We said, sounding like a jilted lover who’s boyfriend ate all of the hotdogs at the Fourth of July Cookout. Oh no, we felt it – that first twinge of “is this okay? Are we…. being a little weird here?”

The answer of course, was yes. But the answer of course was also, who careeeesss?? Okay so they are a little creepy, but their “soulless” “dead” eyes are really just a reflection of the person who is looking onto them. (not that the person is soulless – but the person, is the one perceiving the soul-less-ness) (is that a word?)

I realized, personally, that I never watched one of those scary movies where the doll kills the whole family. I have only known dolls to be fun things to play with, and then when I learned how to climb a tree – really boring things to play with. They’ve never taken up residence in my psyche as those squirly little vixens that terrorize and… I don’t know.. slam doors shut with their minds. A lot of people, however, have had this experience with dolls and so its understandable but also, it is not too late.

It is not too late to retrain your brain to view these ornately decorated, expertly hand crafted works of art for what they are – pieces of Craftsman History. A time we are no longer living in. You can build a machine to stamp plastic into any shape you want, and do that 100,000 times over. Or, you can make 150 dolls, with your hands. Paint every face, and frame every cheek structure. The craftsmanship this requires is something that we, personally, are longing for. We miss it. Making unique floral arrangements everyday by hand, we see the value in this type of work affirm the value of any item that was made in this way.

So, we stand by our dolls and again say “who caresssss” if they’re a little creepy to you right now. Pretty soon they’ll be worth a fortune so put them a safety deposit box under the bed (preferably fire proof because some of them can singe things with their minds) and invest in your families future!

Coleus: The Variegated Beauty

This plant with its spindly stripes is a beautiful thing to behold. I never felt emotionally attracted to a plant until breathing in the discarded O2 that this baby was providing. It whispered in my ear “hey. I love you.” And I believed it.

This creepy little rendezvous made me stop and reflect: Who is this mysteriously variegated plant?

Turns out it is a Coleus, and it’s a very common house plant. To be honest, if I admitted that I didn’t know a Coleus on sight I would be kicked out of the Wednesday Night Mulching Seminar (still trying to manifest the reality of that *hinthint*, Universe)

This Coleus plant likes LOTS of water. In fact, they actually are more of an outdoor plant, but for us NYC folks who consider anywhere a houseplant exists to be ‘outdoor, the Coleus will be happy in a sunny windowsill as long as it is given plenty of water. You can water these most effectively by filling up a large pot with water and submerging the base of the plant completely. You do this once a week and these babies will love you for a long time – I’m hesitant to say that they will love you forever because the existential implications of that are too pressing – but these plants have been in peoples homes for thirty years sometimes!

I’m not swooning, you are.

We have Coleus and other sensuous plants at 84 Clinton. This one, however, is currently sitting on my sunny windowsill where thank you for reminding me – I will water it and sing to it when I get home.

An Open Door: Potential

Glimpsing the property at 84 Clinton you can be assured of one thing: There is a lot to be said for an Open Door. A symbol that is both welcoming and daunting all at once. The adventurous will approach with no thought other than excitement for what’s on the other side. Others cast their lot more timidly – approaching with caution or not at all.

One thing is for sure (amongst other, unrelated things) at 84 Clinton we love an open door and the potential it provides. We have already gotten so much joy out of leading people through the door of the yard, and watching their face light up with surprise at the oasis that unfolds before them. Not to sound too dramatic but we love it here, and we love the people who come through every day. We are starting our first Event season this September and can’t wait to watch more people explore and unwind in this haven we are so fortunate to enjoy ourselves.

for prices and availability: Essex.flowers@gmail.com 212-529-6653

Porcelain Dolls – Maybe YOU’RE the Creepy one.

At Bills Flowers and Other Things we like to be ahead of the times. (We invested in the Impossible Burger when it was just the Imp burger) We understand that just as seasons are cyclical, so are trends. This applies to fashion, as well as commerce. Porecelain dolls were at one time the #1 bought and sold item in the whole world. Out ranking Coffee Beans by 41% (if you fact check this and find out its completely incorrect and absurd I’ll just say that Stoli walked across my keyboard and google autocorrected that sentence). Regardless of the veracity of the logistics of the buy/sell economy – We feel that Porcelain dolls are primed for a comeback. You have the power to smash it to smithereens yet you resist. That is the sort of practiced empathy this next generation needs. We must work together to recognize the fragility of this thing which is spooky, yes – but also vulnerable. Who holds the power in this relationship? You, or the doll?

Popular culture would have us to believe that it is the doll which holds the power. These beautiful dainty creatures show up on your doorstep, transfix you with their sweetness; you bring them into your home and BOOM – Your life is suddenly ruined and you spend the rest of the movie trying to figure out how to banish this doll from existence. That slapstick narrative is overused and quite honestly, disrespectful to the generation of children who at one time made these beautiful handmade works of art their prized possessions. You know how hard it is to not break something? We do. The fact that these glass dolls have survived this many years unscathed is a tremendous accomplishment; one which deserves to be celebrated, not shamed. It’s time we take back the narrative of “dolls are creepy” or “dolls are possessed” or “dolls will see through your soul with their hallow dead eyes” and reimagine a NEW narrative, one which exposes the virtue of LOVE over contempt, and ACCEPTANCE over Fear.

BillsFlowersandOtherThings is excited to be on the forefront of championing this narrative with our totally unique, vintage, handmade Porcelain doll Collection.

Stop by 84 Clinton New York, NY 10002 or Call 212-529-6653 to learn more.