Budlet’s Florida Water review and NYC rent hikes

Review’s at the bottom! I got a little carried away with the opinion part.

Florida was a fun find while browsing NYC’s famous (opened in 1971) Pearl River Mart before its depressing brick and mortar close in December because of a giant rent hike at the end of this year’s lease. Pearl River Mart houses tons of Asian/Chinese clothing, plateware, mugs, teapots, cooking utensils, chopstick designs, a small selection of instant noodles, various sauces, and Asian snacks, as well as a tea balcony, a bunch of random knick-knacks downstairs, and plants.

My mother really likes this place and when we visited together the first time, she informed me that this was a historical landmark for NYC Chinese and proceeded to walk around totally delighted (which at the time was very strange for her, because was on the unhappy side of contented with her life in the US at this time) so this news seriously breaks my heart. They’re hoping to find a new place though, and aren’t strangers to moving, as they only got situated on Broadway in 2003, but it’s apparently a rent hike from more than 100k already to half a million dollars which is utterly ridiculous and makes me ashamed that I majored in business. If getting away with greed is what counts as success, I don’t want any part of it. I really don’t.

Other victims of unnecessary rent hike include the historic (1985) Union Square Café (they’re planning on moving to Park South and 19th street, but I don’t think they’ve moved quite yet so get your meals in when you still can!), WD-50 which was an international Wylie Dufresne venture with his pub project Alder closing at the end of the month, and Hearth, one of the first restaurants to bring artisnal cooking to the East Village; as well as the millions of displaced people living in these increasingly expensive places, victims of gentrification and the whims of people who don’t know or care about the local culture that the biggest city in the world was built upon. Fortunately, most of my relatives live in Queens and Williamsburg, so they’re still safe for now.

Anyways, I’m straying from the juice.

On my bedside table!

On my bedside table!

Budlet’s Florida Water/Agua Florida

  • Wet: clay, lavender, iris, baby powder
  • Dry: baby powder, iris, lavender

From the bottle: “An alcoholic solution prepared with high quantities of aromatic materials. It imparts a pleasant & long-lasting fragrance. It has antibacterial action. Refreshing, cooling & soothing the minor irritation of the skin & also relieving prickly heat.”

Florida Water smells soft and powdery and familiar, like an old car freshener in a gas-guzzling car with velvet upholstery fabric. The only thing missing is the smell of the driver’s cigarette smoke, his dirty coins for toll booths, and a day old take-away cup that used to have milk tea in it. It has a carrot-y note reminiscent of iris, and there’s quite a lot of lavender in it as well. The combination smells a lot like baby powder, but it smells a little more grown-up; more like the stuff you see in old movies when women powder their nose. Keep in mind that I’m not a fan of iris; not even Serge Luten’s Iris Silver Mist could change my mind about that. Florida Water is not particular comforting or sexy or pretty or delicious to me, mainly because it’s a little too nostalgic. This is a “the good old days” scent that smells better in sepia and city smoke haze. But it’s mellow, classic, floral, and very well-balanced and I know someone out there will really like this.

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