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A Wonderful Life

Rents soar and retailers are squeezed – small shops close or search for new pastures, moving away from well-established neighborhoods towards the edges of the inhabitable. Problem is, there are virtually no more edges, save neighborhoods very undesirable, riddled with crime, and with no housing worth upgrading. However, very few neighborhoods show zero promise, and so, Bushwick becomes the new Willamsburg, Gowanus Canal is heralded as the Venice of New York (someday), and Sunset Park is being called neo-SoHo.
In Park Slope, Brooklyn, 7th Avenue is long well established. I remember visiting one of New York City’s few vegetarian restaurants there called the Gazebo. It was a big deal at the time to venture out to Brooklyn to eat. In recent years, small retailers and restaurants have moved further from 7th Avenue in an effort to find affordable rents.

On a recent visit to Brooklyn, a friend and I happened upon Zuzu’s Petals, a flower and plant shop located on 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, the new go-to shopping thoroughfare where many of the shop names are as intriguing and creative as the wares themselves: Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, Cog & Pearl, Cozbi, Eponymy. Matter, Life Emporium, Rivet, and Bird.

Zuzu’s Petals was established in 1971 on 7th Avenue. From their website:

In August 2004, a fire burned us out of our home of 33 years at 81 A Seventh Avenue. Our friends, neighbors, and customers held a “barn raising”, gave us seed money and a mandate to re-locate and rebuild.

Zuzu’s Petals is from the movie ‘It’s A Wonderful Life”. Like George Bailey in the last scene, friends and neighbors came to our rescue.

The shop was exquisitely done and a joy to peruse, even for those not active in plant cultivation. The outdoor garden was a special treat, particularly for anyone from New York, a place where concrete dominates and gardens are scarce or often hidden from view. The place was uplifting and, like its retail brethren along 5th Avenue and elsewhere in Brooklyn, herald a renaissance for the borough and the promise of A Wonderful Life :)

5 Responses to A Wonderful Life

  1. You know I love this post!!! Gotta get to Zuzu’s. Definitely an up and coming neighborhood…not the scary twilight zone we thought it was 20 years ago.

  2. Thank you for all your work! This is, by far, my favorite blog – you see the beauty in every day moments and ordinary life.

  3. Thank you so much for the lovely photos of my flowershop….i can tell it was early in the week as the flower selection is a bit thin.Your recognition of the importance of a small shop within a merchant community is the song i have been singing for 40 years.we are fortunate to have a strong customer base that hums that same tune along with us.
    The recognition is appreciated.
    visit us anytime.
    Fonda, for all the Zuzus

  4. Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe this website needs a lot more attention.
    I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the info!

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