Park Delicatessen has a new commercial via Youtube, where local storeowner Mike Sclafani adds the finishing touches to a flower bouquet, hops on his skateboard and hand delivers it -- all to a tune by Nina Simone.
For many, a skateboard shop is not the go-to place to buy Valentine's Day gifts. But, the ad makes clear that Park Delicatessen is also a florist that delivers. The Park Deli Classic is a one-of-a-kind arrangement of seasonal blooms that can be customized and ordered online.
For Valentine's Day, it's not too late to still order, but you should do it by phone, at 718-789-8889. The store will be open until at least 8 p.m.
Or, choose the artisan Liddabit chocolates, a handmade card, or a special pair of earrings. Husband-and-wife owners Sclafani and Valentine Leung are giving the typical sweetheart gifts a unique, Brooklyn D.I.Y. spin.
“Just give us a call, or come by,” said Sclafani, 32, who grew up in Marine Park, Brooklyn and moved to Prospect Heights four years ago. “We’ve got you covered.”
Of course, if your loved one happens to be a skater, there’s also the limited edition Chocolate skateboard deck covered in hearts.
Located at 533 Park Place, at Classon Avenue, Park Delicatessen is possibly the only store where customers can buy a skateboard and a bouquet of roses with green shoots of lemon leaf and buplerum. Leung’s background in fine arts and fashion, and Sclafani’s in floral arrangements, window dressing – and, well, skateboarding -- have made a canvas out of a space that once was an German-styled deli in the 1950s.
“It’s just the current art project for us,” said Sclafani, who saw an opportunity in the lack of skateboarder shops and florists in the vicinity. “It’s a living, breathing art piece.”
Mixing old and new, the artsy couple decided to keep the original name of the German delicatessen and opened in 2009. Old buffet counters, remnants of the property’s past, display skateboard wheels next to candy-colored watches. Fashion-forward skater clothing, antiques and crafted notebooks share the space with toddler pants and stuffed animals that Leung quilted herself.
Leung’s clothing collections have graced pages of Harper’s Bazaar and Elle, and hung in boutiques around the world. Now she channels her fashion sense into crafting the kinds of clothing she would buy for her 2-year-old son, Marcel.
“I can’t find things that I like in the mass market,” said Leung. So, she makes them. She was born in Hong Kong and lived in California before moving to Prospect Heights over a decade ago. Besides quilting, she also silk-screens and tie-dyes T-shirts, and collages origami paper into handcrafted greeting cards.
Leung and Sclafani say that the reaction to their eclectic store has been positive. As diverse as the merchandise are Park Delicatessen’s patrons: on one recent Friday evening, a young white woman with a yoga mat buys a flower, while a black teenager comes in looking for parts of his skateboard.
Before Sclafani and Leung signed a lease, the 1,100 square foot storefront was abandoned for many months. A Trinidadian restaurant was housed in the space prior. Renovating the space felt like peeling back layers of prior businesses, the couple said, like when they rescued and revamped the old deli counters left in the basement.
Similarly, Leung and Sclafani appear to be uncovering layers of their store's identity, following their muses, but also making it evolve to fit a neighborhood that’s residential and family-oriented, while hosting a significant demographic of people aged 25 to 45 year-olds, and non-family dwellings. Sclafani noted that he was surprised in the beginning at how many orders they received for flowers. He makes trips to Manhattan's flower district three times a week as a result.
Although Park Delicatessen may seem experimental or random in what it offers, Leung and Sclafani said that it has become what it is organically.
“Everything we do from the skateboards, to the flowers, to shopping for antiques, we do together,” said Sclafani. “A lot of planning goes into the whole place.”
Park Delicatessen, 533 Park Place at Classon, will be open until at least 8 p.m. on Valentine's Day. To order, call 718-789-8889.