This post was updated Feb. 7 at 4:19 p.m. with more info and the thoughts of Shady Grove Flowers owner Courtney Bloomfield.
The Shady Grove courtyard was demolished Feb. 6, in order to make room for a new public walkway connecting Lexington and Rankin avenues.
The courtyard garden behind Shady Grove Flowers at 64 N. Lexington Ave. was originally started by Perri Crutcher in the late '90s, when the shop was called Perri Ltd. Floral Decor Studio. The garden has been maintained and developed further by Courtney Bloomfield, who once worked for Crutcher and opened her shop in Crutcher's stead about a decade ago. In addition to providing a creative outlet and much-used work space for Bloomfield and costumers, the area was a favorite spot to lounge during the popular annual Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival.
Bloomfield says the decision to level the urban garden was made by John and Dawn Lantzius, siblings who own the land and adjoining property, as well as much of the other property along Lexington Avenue.
"It's the furthest thing from my choice. … I didn't hire those bulldozers and dig up my garden," says Bloomfield. "I've spent the last 10 years literally pouring my heart and soul in to that garden. … I'm a little sad about it, but I'm trying to embrace the change, and hoping that the owners are going to do something even more lovely to it."
That's the goal, says John Lantzius, who reports that the new walkway will include another garden. The idea is to bridge Rankin Ave. and its parking deck to the heart of Lexington Ave., helping businesses in both places, he says.
The large building neighboring Bloomfield's shop on the Lexington Avenue side of the proposed walk-through is currently housing the What to Wear? clothing store. And Lantzius explains that the changes to the courtyard are also designed to compliment ongoing renovations to the rest of that big building, which he owns. [Stay tuned to Xpress for more on Lantzius' plans]
Meanwhile, Bloomfield reports that the flowers and other features that made the garden special for so many years are safe.
"I was out there in the cold rain digging up my bleeding hearts and transporting them home to my house. I dug up every plant that was in that garden and took it to a safe home. I carried every rock and got them out of there," she explains.
And although she will miss the garden, Bloomfield says she's hoping for the best.
"John cares a lot about the street. And he cares about maintaining the artistic, eclectic, as well as beautiful nature of the street. So I don't feel he's going in there to pave it and put up a Starbucks. …I don't think people need to worry about that," she explains. "I'm trying to embrace the beauty of what it was, and move on to tomorrow. And hope that it's even going to be better. … I'll have to see how it all pans out in the end."
The following photos show models Melissa Terrezza and Reggie Tidwell posing for an Xpress photo shoot in the courtyard a few years back.
(Photos by Jonathan Welch)
Xpress will have more information on the situation as it's available.