New York Blossoming Take a Walk Around the Neighborhood

Mareme wearing a "necklace" of brooches from the TJL Collection.

There’s a feeling on the streets of New York these days, though it’s hard to pin down what it is exactly. It’s a city recovering and a city reawakening. Recovering from great loss, and reawakening to new possibilities.

You feel it when you enter Penn Station on Seventh Avenue, tunneling through the old building, with its familiar garishly lit shops and food stands, into the sunlit openness of the art-filled new one. “Coming Soon” signs are everywhere, announcing the future.

You feel it meandering down the Flower District sidewalk on 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh, pausing to breathe in the fragrant air outside Tropical Plants and Orchids.

You feel it on Fifth Avenue in the 30s, where there are many empty storefronts, yet every so often you run into an old friend, like J.J. Hat Center, New York’s oldest hat shop, where the friendly hatter and Native American jewelry collector shows you a selection of wide-brimmed straw hats to try on.

J.J. Hat Center at 310 5th Avenue.
Hatter's collection.

You feel it on the side streets, as you stumble upon a monumental wall of wisteria on 30th between Park and Lexington, stop at Rose Bakery in Dover Street Market for tea, say hi to the folks at the Old Print Shop on Lex, then turn right onto 27th Street, only to be reminded of the closing of The Jazz Standard.

You feel it on Broadway, where TJL is located, just south of Herald Square. Many costume jewelry shops at street level are open, though the wig shop closed, and, temporarily we hope, the delicious Casa Nomad. We miss our friends who once sold Indian jewelry next door to us on the eighth floor, but are thrilled to welcome the wonderful Biba Schutz to our building, with the opportunity to make visiting her studio a regular thing.

Flower Brooch by Biba Schutz.
Biba in her studio.

The latest soundtrack at TJL has been the constant thrum of the construction elevator next door, up and down all day, putting the finishing touches on a new office building that promises a vegan restaurant in the lobby. It’s been an ongoing reminder that things are always changing here, opening and closing, being built or coming down, and still the energy of this city pulses through, even when you can’t quite put your finger on it.

Ayna wearing a "necklace" of brooches from the TJL Collection
Bejeweled pins sparkle in a flowerbed.
Bakelite brooches among the tulips.