Flowers for Takashimaya

By

Published April 14, 2010

 

 

Sayonara, Takashimaya. The august Fifth Avenue department store is closing its doors in June, but “the legend,” warns the boutique, lounge, and florist “will live on!” Indeed it will.

For high-end Japanophilic shoppers, Takashimaya has long been a one-stop Zen shrine with marble coffers and a giant, looping lamp as a torch. First opened in New York in 1958 (1829 in Japan, where it will continue to operate multiple branches), Takashimaya moved to its current six-floor location between 54th and 55th in 1993 and immediately made a reputation for their fabulously modest curated collections of designers and exquisite Japanese-style floral presentations. Each floor has taken an epithet: “The Tea Box” is down below for your precious moments of rejuvenation and tea sipping; “Becoming” on the ground floor is for accessories and fragrance, but the title is also a harbinger of delicacies to be acquired, and nibbled on thereafter.

The restaurant in The Tea Box has offered the Japanese answer to the Carlyle’s tea sandwiches; open-faced rolls of sushi cut into precious, almost Waspy triangles, to be followed by, say, a pear half ginger-encrusted. But it was the whimsically designated top floor—”Growing Things,” i.e., plants and baby wares, plus a ceramic shrine and the general feeling of a museum boutique—that made Takashimaya such an enduring destination.

Takashimaya never filled its six floors; its selection was immaculate and strictly edited. Just the good stuff. So we must think: their stay was not forever (so go now), but just long enough.