Millions of people around the world gathered to celebrate the start of the Lunar New Year this week. Here in New York, the party is just getting started! Celebrate the holiday in style this weekend with these helpful floral hints.
Flowers and Fruits For Chinese New Year
These cheerful yellow flowers, also known as daffodils, are a sign of good fortune and prosperity. They are one of the most auspicious flowers to include in New Year celebrations.
A symbol of the sun, these fruits are a sign of abundant happiness. If you’ll be attending a Chinese New Years party at a friend’s or family member’s home, consider taking a basket of these cheerful fruits. To make a tasty treat basket more traditional, add some candied nuts – peanuts are a favorite and symbolize a long life.
These delicate blooms are symbolic of abundance, refinement, and luxury. Whether you prefer the large Cymbidiums, smaller Mokaras, or living Phalaenopsis – orchids are a highly desirable gift during this season. Check out some of our favorite arrangements featuring orchids here and here.
These lovely blooms are often associated with riches and honor. This blooms are also a popular symbol of feminine beauty and affection. For Chinese New Year celebrations burgundy peonies are considered particularly auspicious.
Colors For Chinese New Year
While selecting your blooms this weekend, focus on warm colors. Red is by far the most popular color as it traditionally is associated with good fortune and joy. It is also a good idea to avoid white flowers as this color can represent mourning.
Want to join the fun? Check out the Chinese New Year parade this Sunday at 1pm, February 22nd 2015. See you all there!
New York City might be a Concrete Jungle, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not also a great place to catch some fall foliage. We’re in the thick of October, which means that the next three weekends are going to be among the best of the year for viewing fantastic local color. This week’s blog is a collection of great places to catch some great trees without leaving New York City limits.
Without further ado, here’s our breakdown for Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan:
1 – Alley Pond Park’s “Yellow Trail” – Alley Pond is an interesting park. It sits more-or-less in a glacial moraine, which is a land formation composed of many mixed materials left behind by the glaciers that created Long Island and Manhattan. As a result, Alley Pond Park has a highly diverse ecosystem, with a whole bunch of trees. There are mostly hardwoods, oak and hickory. Alley Pond also boasts a public high-ropes course!
2 – Astoria Park – The color here is offset by the mixed-blues and greys backdrop of ocean, sky and Manhattan Skyline. While you’re here, you might as well get some great Greek food at Stamatis on 23rd Avenue or BBQ at Strand Smokehouse on Broadway.
2 – Central Park – But you knew that, you’re a smart cookie. I mean, there’s over 23,000 trees there, which is an average of over 1,000 per acre. Anywhere you go, it’s going to be great.
1 – Prospect Park – The same rules as Central Park apply – there are a ton of trees here, and it’s beautiful everywhere.
2 – Ocean Parkway – If you’ve got a car, try heading for a ride down Ocean Parkway, from the Prospect Expressway down to Coney Island. It’s tree-lined the whole way down, and passes through a wide range of neighborhoods. The drive is a real slice of old-skool New York City, taking you through the real Brooklyn.
And if you can’t make it outside – don’t forget that Starbright Floral Design is happy to bring the season to you. We’re featuring a ton of autumnal arrangements with colored leaves, fall foods, and seasonal weeds (the pretty sort).
And because we can’t help our seasonal joy – today we’re sharing a special New York style apple pie recipe from the Starbright team! Happy Fall!
BIG APPLE PIE
In New York, sometimes there just isn’t room for kitchen equipment – it’s a cold hard fact that can really cramp one’s cooking style. This recipe comes from one our team, who first learned how to make this recipe entirely by hand! She’s since then added a food processor to the process, both methods are listed below.
PIE CRUST :
2 1/2 cups flour (the general sort)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup of butter (still cold! cut into small cubes)
1/3 cup water (ice cold)
1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl – give it a couple gentle stirs to mix.
2. Add the butter – mix the butter and dry combination until combined and looking like course meal.
By Hand : Use a wooden or metal spoon to sort of mash the butter into the dry mix repeatedly against the side of the bowl, while turning the bowl for the best leverage – cold butter can be uncooperative. Be careful to not overdue it though, the goal is to keep the butter cold throughout this process. Chasing just the big lumps of butter into only the very dry floury leftovers will help. And get ready, this hand process won’t be quick
By Food Processor : Add your dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and pulse for 2 seconds to combine. Next, add the butter, and pulse again until the mixture looks like course meal – about 8 seconds.
3. Add ice cold water.
By Hand : Add about half of the water and combine gently. Add more water slowly until the dough holds together. The goal is to get all the dough to hold together with the least amount of water.
By Food Processor : Add the water in a steady stream through the processor’s tube until the dough just holds together. Do not process for more than 20 seconds to combine the water.
4. Turn out the dough onto a surface and divide into two roughly the same size balls. Press the dough flat (by hand). Wrap the flattened balls in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
1 lemon, squeezed – about 2 tbsp juice
8 apples (your choice!)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1. Peel and cut apples into slices or wedges that are about 1/4″ thick. Toss with lemon juice to prevent browning.
2. Combine remain ingredients in a bowl and mix until apples are fully coated with sugar.
PUT THE PIE TOGETHER
2tbsp butter (cut into small cubes)
1. Roll out one of the flattened dough balls and lay it into a buttered pie plate to form the outside crust. Let any over hanging dough stay there for a minute.
2. Add the pie filling to the crust. It’ll look like there’s too much – pile the filling mound higher at the center.
3. Press the butter cubes into the filling – spaced out.
4. Rollout the second dough ball on a floured surface. This will be for the top of the pie. Wet the edge of the bottom of the pie crust and lay the top on evenly. The wetted edge will help them stick together. Look up some decorative designs if you’d like to make yours unique!
5. Make sure the pie crust has a vent. If the crust is left solid, it will probably break and ooze apple filling…A lesson learned after one memorable mess. Cutting 4 or 5 slits in the top crust should do the trick.
1. When the oven is at 450 degrees, slip in the pie. Bake for 20 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking until the pie looks done. “Looking done” requires about 45-60 more minutes and a golden-brown crust.
3. If you don’t want to globby mess, allow the pie to cool completely before serving. It’ll take about 5-6 hours.
Nestled in the heart of New York’s historic flower district, Starbright Floral Design has been delivering arrangements of the highest quality for over twenty years. We celebrated our anniversary last week in the shop with lots of arrangements, delicious food from Niles NYC, and birthday cakes for the shop and for “the man that makes it happen”, Costas!
And while the team took a break to chow down on some delicious treats and talked shop. Starbright has a unique studio layout – over 75% of the floor space in the suite is devoted to designing and producing floral arrangements. If you enter the shop and look to the left, all the way down in the back of the shop you’ll see a row of desks – this is where the office staff work, manning the phones. One of the first things you’ll notice is that there isn’t a wall or door or glass window or blind or anything between these two sides of the business. The design and shop staff and the business operations personnel share one space, and one mission – that makes it real easy to come together and let loose, like a big family.
Starbright is known for the flowers, but if you ask anyone who works here what makes the joint special they’ll tell you “it’s the people!” We’re going to break the fourth wall here – we’ve worked with a long list of multi-national businesses and local standouts. Starbright Floral Design is unique on that list because of the incredibly diverse range of experiences, backgrounds and motivations that come together to compose the team. Design isn’t just about making something look nice, or just about pleasing a client on-time and on-budget – design is what happens when someone considers their life story, and funnels those experiences into your life story. Below is a gallery of some of the faces you’ll see when you visit our 28th St location:
“Starbright is the perfect Manhattan florist because, like the city itself, its staff is made up of all kinds. Everyone here works hard, likes to laugh, and brings their own area of expertise to the table. We can learn from each other as well as challenge each other, and altogether have staff hail from all five boroughs, as well as boasting international members. There is no other florist more cosmopolitan than Starbright, and hence none better to service and represent the great city of New York!”
Wondering who’s been at the Starbright Floral Design table longest? Eddie has been with Starbright for well over a decade! With a quick wit and a ready laugh, Eddy brings life to arrangements through color and texture. It’s been a pretty awesome year here for Eddie – the Society of American Florists featured Starbright Floral Design and published a photo of this guy on the cover!
Ana has also been with Starbright for over a decade! And even though her favorite flower is the anthurium and tropical arrangements are her jam, Ana is also our “queen of roses”. Whether it’s one dozen or three, she knows exactly what to do with those long stems.
Happy 20 anniversary Nic and Family!
I thank God for letting me know you guys for so many years and giving me this opportunity to be part of your team – which is like a family. After many years in the flower business, I am still learning new things day after day. From the bottom of my heart, I wish Starbright many more years to continue growing. Long live Starbright.
With love” –
And this is Barbara! With over a decade of floral design experience and about six years in this shop, Barbara is another Starbright veteran and a huge part of the team.
Have you attended a party with Starbright flowers recently? Or a wedding? If you have, there’s a big chance Barbara is responsible for the pieces. Barbara’s style can be described as lush – whether it’s modern or traditional, somehow Barbara’s pieces seem richer than the budget would lead you to expect.
But don’t be fooled. This girl’s got edge – check out her great tattoo – but also a huge heart. As a mother of three, Barbara is an expert listener. I don’t know how she does it, but somehow, Barbara always knows just what people are hoping for.
Sokratis recently joined us from Greece, where he and his wife both worked as floral designers. Creating natural looking forms from flowers – Sokratis brings a technique and style all his own. He is known around the shop for his daring composition, utilizing flora in atypical fashions to achieve top flight results.
Viktor? Where’d you go? Just kidding. Viktor is a little camera shy himself, but that’s not at all the case for the arrangements that he makes! I snapped a shot of the design table where the elusive Viktor can sometimes be seen. Stop in the shop someday and wave to the left-most design table. Hi, Viktor!
“Working for a flower company like Starbright is amazing. It has been a great opportunity to grow as a floral designer and to learn from the best coworkers ever. Working as team, we’re making the Star brighter than ever!
I design floral arrangements with a passion for our client’s satisfaction. It is a pleasure to know that my work might cheer up a person’s day or bring a smile to their face. I am very grateful to have such an opportunity. Today I would like to congratulate the man who came up with the idea to start this company, twenty year ago a Star came over New York City to make it Bright.
After allthese years Starbright is still shining, thanks to the man, friend, coworker and owner who never sleeps Nic Faitos.
God Bless this company because we are Starbright Floral Design. Cheers!!!!”
So designers design the arrangements and build them out, and office personnel handle orders and paperwork. Doing everything else – literally – falls on the broad shoulders of the Starbright Shop Team. These cats are among the most level-headed in the office – they have to be, since they’re the glue that binds the place!
And from the office! These ladies and gentlemen are on the phones 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. One Account Manager told me that the Starbright “management shows a strong dedication to a friendly, pleasant environment with an almost family interaction with the staff. When you have a smile on your face and happy to be at work, customer service is simple.”
Still with us? Great! Way down here, tucked away at the bottom of the blog post, we’ve put a special gift for our supporters – Nic got together with our camera team last week to talk to us about where Starbright came from, and how it got to where it is today.
Starbright Floral Design is excited to share a post from our friends over at Project by Project.
16th Annual Tasting Benefit presented by Project by Project
The ultimate foodie event of the month is here!
On the evening of Friday, September 26th, not-for-profit organization Project by Project will be hosting it’s 16th annual tasting benefit – Plate by Plate – at the Metropolitan Pavilion! With the generosity of Starbright Floral Design, a returning donor and supporter, the South Pavilion will be decorated with amazing florals to set the mood for this decadent tasting event. Plate by Plate showcases the city’s premiere restaurants in which you’d be getting the chance to mingle with top chefs while tasting some of their finest dishes. Participating restaurants at Plate by Plate includes Thalassa Restaurant, The Sea Grill, Fung Tu, and Yerba Buena Perry–just to name a few. What’s more, aside from satisfying your watering taste buds, net ticket proceeds will be going to one of our nation’s most historical landmarks – Henry Street Settlement.
Founded in 1893 by Progressive reformer and nurse Lillian Wald, the Henry Street Settlement has been a focal point of continuing social services and health care services provided to New Yorkers of all ages. More recently, the Henry Street Settlement has been supporting mental health needs of those facing mental illness, related stigmata, and those that are too culturally and linguistically challenged to address those needs on their own in our diverse community.