Manhattan Fruitier Staff Summer Getaway Top Picks

Summer’s in full swing at Manhattan Fruitier and we’ve got vacation on the brain. While it’s always busy here, it’s also a time to book our trips and schedule some long weekends. We’re all city people but we like to get away – even for a day.
Where are you going this summer? Wherever it is, we hope it’s Beachy Keen.

If you still have some undecided weekends in your near future, maybe we can help. Here are our favorite local and not so far away haunts that we enjoy. Cheers!

Lisa – Production  “Usually I take Metro North to Cold Spring in Putnam County. It’s a wonderful little town on the Hudson river. It’s cooler there in the summertime, being right on the Hudson River. Lots of hiking trails and kayaking opportunities. When I want a getaway closer to home I head to the NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Their Frieda Kahlo show this summer is a must see.”

 Cold Spring, NY
Cold Spring

Arlinda – Production  “I go to Manhattan Beach almost every weekend. It’s near Coney Island and Brighton Beach but nowhere near as crowded. I just love it. The parking is free and the water and the sand are much cleaner.”

Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn NYManhattan Beach Park

David – Head of Customer Service  “ I do day trips to Southampton in the summer. It’s just beautiful there. I get up early, jump on the jitney and spend the day at the beach then around Main street for the shops and cafes. When I don’t leave town, I grab a drink and head straight to the Highline. It’s the best urban oasis the city has to offer. ”

High LineThe Highline

Charles – Head of Expediting & Facilities “My getaway is Cape May. You can get there quicker, but I like drive to the end of G.S. Parkway and jump on the Cape May Ferry. It’s kind of like the Hamptons but better in my opinion because it’s all coastline. Beautiful views, old houses on stilts and little casinos. Tons of history if you want to visit the little museums. Sometimes we do mini-golf and there are great restaurants that serve seafood that they catch fresh that day.”

Cape May, NJCape May

Jackie – Production  “City Island! I love it. The scenery is beautiful, the air is so fresh.I like watching the speedboats, walking around and then get a table at Sammy’s Fishbox for Coconut Shrimp. They are the best!”

City Island, NYCity Island

Hugh – Finance & Bookkeeping/IT Manager  “I have two favorites for day trips in the summertime that both a short ferry ride away. Governer’s Island and Snug Harbor. Governor’s for the great food carts. I grab a bite and go to the big grassy area at the top of the hill where you can look back on the Manhattan skyline. Snug Harbor for the Chinese Scholars Garden.”

Chinese Scholars GardensChinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor

Jehv and Lauren – Co-Owners  “Lauren and I like to sneak away for a day – preferably in the middle of the week – to Point Lookout Beach on the south shore of Long Island. PLB is a pretty well-kept secret, which means it’s relatively quiet. It’s a very long and deep beach so it’s not hard to find a little island of serenity in the sand. You get there as if you’re driving to Jones Beach, and then take the Point Lookout exit just before the Jone’s Beach toll plaza. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Manhattan.”

Point LookoutPoint Lookout

Sara – Marketing Manager “I like spending  the summer taking day trips all over the NY area, but I am especially fond of the Pine Barrens in NJ. You take County Rte 539 through the barrens and along the way are lots of country towns with markets and farm stands on the weekend. When it’s blueberry season it’s a great road trip since that’s where they are mainly grown and there are tons of roadside stands to pick up quarts (or pick them off the trees on a hike!). Sometimes I’ll go back out in the fall for the Cranberry Festival. They have cranberry bog tours in early October.”

 Pine BarrensPine Barrens

Sarah – Product Development, Purchasing “Summer and I have an uneasy relationship since I burn in a hot NY minute, so I seek out the the shady places. I’m fortunate to live down the street from my favorite place in the city, Greenwood Cemetery. I spend a lot of time there every week walking the paths. There are over 8000 trees and most are giants, the oldest trees in NYC. It may seem a bit morbid but it’s the most idyllic, peaceful place. Plus, the cemetery really encourages tourism with tons of events – theater, dance performances, picnics, trolley and walking tours.”

Greenwood CemeteryGreenwood Cemetery

 Amanda -Customer ServiceShakespeare in the Park (Central Park). My sister and I will go at least once this summer. We bring a picnic blanket and some folding chairs and wake up really early for the ticket line.”

Shakespeare in the ParkShakespeare in the Park

Zero Degrees of Separation: NYC Really is a Small Town

New Yorkers will recognize this kind of relationship. It’s with someone that you see frequently in your local bodega/corner store or on the subway on the way to work or walking on your block. Eventually you start to acknowledge each other, smile and nod and maybe even begin to say “Hello”. This may go on for years. It’s these kinds of relationships that make living in a city where people move on foot and are out an about in their neighborhoods a lot so great. I estimate that I have about 20 of these relationships at any one time.

Occasionally, these relationships actually move past the “hello, how are you doing” phase.

This happened to me and a neighbor just this week. For nearly 15 years we’ve been just street friendly with each other. We never exchanged names. But even so, each of us watched the other’s kids grow from toddlers to young adults, their dogs come and go, and the other age, too. While I was out waiting patiently on the sidewalk with our very elderly French Bulldog Lily a couple of days ago, the person who soon became known to me as Michelle slowed down as she passed by. We exchanged hellos, how’d the summer go, and how are the dogs. And then I said, “It’s about time we knew each others’ names. My name is Jehv. What’s yours?” Then came a flood of family names (husband, kids, dogs, etc.).

I’m telling this story because during our conversation I found out that Michelle is a costume designer. Coincidentally, we know someone in common. And she discovered that I own Manhattan Fruitier. Her reaction, “Oh my god! I’ve been a Manhattan Fruitier customer since the 1980s.I love your stuff.

What a great connection to make, and after all these years. As I often remark, New York City is a small town.

Behind The Candelabra: An Insider’s Look at Event Design

Candelabra centerpiece

Most people know Manhattan Fruitier for our fruit baskets and artisanal food gifts. It is our passion and our lifeblood and we are blessed to have built wonderful relationships with our customers across the country and around the world with our creative gifts. But there is another service our company provides for our local following that we keep a bit more under the radar, but one that brings us just as much satisfaction as our daily offerings. It is our design work for special events.

For the past 25 years our Creative Director, Drew Pleak and his team have created gorgeous, artful centerpieces for events, galas and intimate gatherings across New York City. Drew has decked out the tables for such diverse clients as the Queen of Thailand to Dr. Oz.  And we’ve taken one special girl from her Bat Mitzvah to her wedding. We create Thanksgiving cornucopias, wedding favors, goodie and swag bags for award ceremonies and elaborate centerpieces. Word of mouth has established a devoted clientele and we are often the go-to source for people who need a resource that leans toward the elegant, natural aesthetic reflected in our product line.

So we thought you might like to see a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes or “behind the candelabra” of Manhattan Fruitier’s centerpiece production. As we were readying a party at a private club in Manhattan a couple weeks ago, we took a few quick snaps to show you some of our process.

The style of the centerpiece dictates whether we build them ahead of time or at the party venue. The verticality of these candelabra centerpieces required  that we do most of the work at the site but Lisa, our floral designer, was able to affix the blueberry branches that drape the candelabra here at our workshop.

preparing a candelabra centerpiece

Off to the party with the centerpieces. Sorry- no photos of the blinding rainstorm- but here is a shot of our prep table with blueberry branches, parrot tulips, hydrangea, hyacinth, delphiniums and mountain laurel to begin the final construction.

worktable for centerpiece

Alas, no ladder at the venue to create the centerpieces on the tables so Lauren does her magic on the floor.

arranging candelabra for party

Once we have strung the grapes and trussed and hidden the wire that holds the fruit and flowers in place, we carefully place the candelabras on the tables and make sure every angle pleases the eye. We also have to make sure that there will be nothing in the flame of the lit candles.

candelabra flower and fruit centerpiece

It’s always a balancing act to make sure we complete our centerpieces with the freshest flowers at peak bloom, our fruits at optimum ripeness and at the same time make sure to vanish before the caterers arrive to set the tables. Of course, this is all before the guests arrive.

Aside from centerpieces and event design, we also design gifts around product launches, particularly for cosmetic and beauty products. When a company launches a new papaya-based shampoo, we’re there to create promotional gifts combining the shampoo and fresh papayas. We’ll give you a look from time to time at what Drew and his team are creating. Stay tuned and please give us a call or email customerservice@mfruit.com if you would like help with your event design.

Where is the Best Rooftop View of Manhattan?

Maybe we are biased but we think the best view of the city is on our soon-to-be new rooftop in Long Island City. Check it:

Some of our readers and fans may already know we are moving to a spacious new location in Long Island City this month. We are excited to have more room and expand the service and quality gifts for which we are known.

We hope you will come by and visit us in our new space soon.