By Mitch Broder
You probably don’t expect to be welcomed to New York City by perky girls handing you flowers. And you shouldn’t.
That is, unless you happen to emerge in New York City from the Spring Street subway station. Then you should.
If you step around the railing and face 65 Spring, at least one girl will give you a flower and say, “This is for you.” She will not ask for anything in return. You, though, can ask for whatever you want. Curb your expectations.
The first time I got a flower I imagined I’d been specially chosen because the perky girls saw in me what so many others had missed. Then I noticed the baskets stuffed with hundreds of other flowers and realized that anyone who shows up gets one, whether he’s special or not.
The scene of this unconditional love is a store called Tierra, which was born on the Canary Islands yet found its way to SoHo. It’s a woodsy little place dripping with gaily colored accoutrements including jewelry, bags, and scarves, made by presumably perky artists.
Diana Moreno, the store manager, told me that the flower idea came from the store founder, Francisco Javier Rahim Gil. “His philosophy is that to be able to get anything back, you have to give,” she said. “The flower is a welcoming gift. It’s easy to connect with somebody when you’re gifting them for no reason.”
It worked for me. Even though I knew that Tierra would prefer something back, getting a flower from a smiling woman made me feel better.
The flower was a fake daisy, but within hours, I swear it wilted. I also swear it smelled, and Diana later confirmed that it did. “It’s dipped in an Asian fragrance,” she said. “It’s top-secret. The smell lasts over three months. You can always smell it and remember us.”
It’s just the kind of thing I would do.
Sniff out Tierra at 65 Spring Street, between Crosby and Lafayette streets, in Manhattan.