Why You Might See Garbage Cans Around NYC Being Used As Giant Vases

"We had hoped for smiles, the ones that happen when you witness a random act of kindness."

There are few things that would make a New Yorker do a double take these days, but these flower arrangements in trash cans may just be one of them. "What happened here?" and "Why?" would both be valid questions and floral designer Lewis Miller has the answers. 

"Gifting flowers to New Yorkers is a simple idea that I have been thinking about for years," Lewis explains on the Lewis Miller Design website. "I love my job and what we do at Lewis Miller Designs ... We are in the business of fantasy and flowers; transforming key life moments in our client's lives into magical, everlasting memories." 

With his project Flowers for the People, Miller hopes to "recreate just a sliver of that sentiment and offer it up to the city dwellers and tourists of this great city." So, he's putting stunning flower arrangements in NYC garbage cans, using them to liven up statues, and meticulously placing them anywhere else that inspires him.


Miller started the project back in October when he and his team woke up before dawn to arrange 2,000 flowers around the John Lennon Memorial in Central Park. They placed yellow, pink, purple and orange dahlias and carnations around the "IMAGINE" mandala. 

"As we were packing up and leaving the park, I was amazed at how quickly a crowd had formed. We had hoped for smiles, the ones that happen when you witness a random act of kindness. That was my goal, my vision — to create an emotional response through flowers," Miller wrote. 

Thanks to Instagram, Miller and his team immediately saw how much New Yorkers appreciated their efforts to brighten their days. "We got to see how our idea translated in real time with hundreds of selfies and photographs documenting the flowers throughout the course of the day. It was one of the most rewarding and gratifying 'events,' " he wrote.

Since then, Miller and his team have continued to put bright and beautiful flowers in unexpected places around the city. They look for well-trafficked areas or spots around NYC that make a great background for their arrangements. So if you come across one, just know that particular trash can being used as a vase was very carefully selected. 

Aside from adding some more beauty to the streets of New York, we hope these things help to counteract some of the garbage smell that always seems to creep up on you when you least expect it. 

You can see some of Miller and his team's Flowers for the People work below.

(H/T: Gothamist


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