Love blooms all over NYC, and the world over. We partnered with @subwayhands for Pride to give away flowers to passengers on the Staten Island Ferry and capture scenes of devotion and intimacy. These anonymous moments remind us that love is for everyone and so are flowers.
“I started the project in 2015 as a daily exercise once I noticed the energy in people’s hands. I’m deeply curious about the lives of strangers,” remarked photographer Hannah La Follette Ryan. Deviating from her namesake, subway hands became ferry hands while shooting for FTD on the Staten Island ferry. This free service shuttles mostly tourists keen for a view, or Staten Island locals to and from Manhattan. “Strangers became acquaintances as soon as we started talking,” Hannah laughed, “I had some sweet conversations while I was shooting. It broke down that barrier I’m typically trying to maintain on the subway; the whole experience was really joyful.”
Her first stop was at an FTD florist partner, Q Florist in Manhattan, where they prepared a generously sized duffel of both single stems and bouquets. “Their floral designer, Norberto, arranged flowers like he was performing a ballet,” Hannah remembered, “With these amazing hand flourishes, it was clear he’d done this a thousand times.” Deadlifting 40 lbs. of precious floral cargo, Hannah and her assistant, Sophia, made their way downtown, where they’d spend the whole day riding back and forth between the two boroughs. “What’s nerve-racking and magical is that I’m completely relying on strangers.” Luckily, free flowers weren’t a hard sell.
The colorful hubbub Hannah stirred up on the ferry caught the attention of the first mate. He volunteered himself for the project; he wanted a rose for a first date after work. “Over the course of the day, I realized how much flowers are appreciated. They bring people simple, uncomplicated joy. I realized everyone loves flowers.” Hannah found out later the first mate’s date loved the rose.
Whether it’s the ferry, subway, bus, or transport in a completely different city, we’re all trying to get to a place of love, places that uplift us and feel safe. Love stories can be found in subtle, quiet moments like intertwined hands on the subway. These moments deserve to be celebrated. For Pride and beyond, remember to give often and to all because love is for everyone, and so are flowers.