Next week, a new business will open on Washington Avenue—and it’s not a restaurant or bar.
Instead, Chrysanthemum: Rare Teas & Flowers, will offer floral arrangements, rare teas and tea ceremony classes.
The shop is the collaboration of floral designer Sarah Lineberger and tea master Ken Lo, who met by chance when Lineberger tagged along with a friend to an interview on ethnic foods with Lo.
The pair, along with Lo’s wife Angel, a real estate broker, hit it off immediately and a collaboration was born.
“It was a random incident, totally by destiny,” said Lineberger.
A 24-year-old California native, Lineberger moved to New York six years ago and has worked at Manhattan flower shops since.
The shop is located at located at 669 Washington Ave. between St. Marks and Prospect. Lo and his wife bought the building in 1989, living in it for 12 years. For a time Angel ran her real estate business from the ground floor storefront, and for a while it was also rented to a doctor’s office.
And 669's newest iteration is sure to be embraced by Washington Avenue-are residents, many of whom have been calling for a diversity of businesses after watching a spate of bars and restaurants open on the strip over the past two years
Mike Sclafani, who owns the flower and skate shop on Classon Avenue and serves on the board of the Washington Avenue Prospect Heights Association, said he welcomes the new addition.
“As for how it will affect Park Delicatessen, we’re just going to keep what we’re doing. But as a baord member of WAPHA, I’m so excited to see another vacancy filled on Washington Avenue,” he said. “I think it will be great on the neighborhood.
The name of the shop, of course, come from the flower that is used for both long-lasting arrangements and relaxing tea.
The floral end of the venture will specialize in locally grown flowers (many from the Los' country house).
"There is going to be movement in the arrangements—it’s not going to be your typical Telaflora arrangement," said Lineberger.
Lo’s side of the operation will offer rare teas and tea ceremony classes.
Born in Flatbush to parents from Chinese, Lo, 59, is a Kung Fu master with a studio in Soho. He got interested in tea ceremonies after becoming friends with a tea ceremony master who introduced him to the art.
“The first time I had the tea, I didn’t really understand it. I was used to drinking tea English style, with milk and sugar," Lo said.
But Lo got hooked and became a tea master himself
“It is a kind of a meditation where you really sense the flavors, the textures, the fragrances,” he said.
And the flower shop/tea ceremony combo makes a lot of sense, he added.
“You need an artistic environment of art work and quiet to change your state of mind from the more day-to-day state of life to something calm and inspired,” he said.
Chrysanthemum: Rare Teas & Flowers, (347) 955-5401, is located at 669 Washington Ave. between St. Marks and Prospect. It is open 8 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.