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Before dawn one morning in October 2016, renowned New York-based floral designer Lewis Miller stealthily arranged hundreds of brightly colored dahlias, carnations, and mums into a psychedelic halo around the John Lennon memorial in Central Park. The spontaneous floral installation was Miller’s gift to the city—an effort to spark joy during a difficult time. Nearly five years and more than ninety Flower Flashes later, these elaborate flower bombs—bursts of jubilant blooms in trash cans, over bus canopies, on construction sites and traffic medians—have brought moments of delight and wonder to countless New Yorkers and flower lovers everywhere, and earned Miller a following of dedicated fans and the nickname the “Flower Bandit.”
After New York City entered lockdown, Miller doubled down, creating Flower Flashes outside hospitals to express gratitude to frontline health workers and throughout the city to raise spirits. This gorgeous and poignant visual diary traces the phenomenon from the first, spontaneous Flower Flash to the even more profound installations of the pandemic through a kaleidoscopic collage of photos documenting the Flower Flashes, behind-the-scenes snapshots, Miller’s inspiration material, fan contributions, and more.
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