Mikey Flowers and the 9/11 Memorial keep a tradition alive

Each year since 2013, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum has placed a white rose on the names of each the victims on their birthday. A volunteer suggested it, and the memorial turned to Michael Collarone — Mikey Flowers — who has owned Floratech on Beach Street for 30 years to supply the blooms. He not only has a long history with the neighborhood, but he was at the World Trade Center site volunteering as soon as the towers went down. (See Erik’s wonderful Spotlight feature here. Thanks to M. for noting it.)

They have not skipped this tradition for even a day over these past weeks, even though the memorial is closed and even though Floratech is shuttered and the flower delivery business, like everyone’s lives, has been interrupted. With his distributor closed as well, Mikey had to order the flowers direct from a supplier in the Netherlands, he told The Times: “I want to show people that the world is not over.”

Photo by Claudine Williams

Every morning, a member of the memorial staff goes onto the plaza with a list of birthday names and a bucket of white roses. The list of names has corresponding panel numbers. When they find the name, they place the rose in one of the letters on the bronze parapets lining the pools. After the rose is in place, a photo is taken and it is shared with the family upon their request.

“For many who cannot come to the site to see the rose themselves, we are able to provide them with this image as a reminder that their loved one is never forgotten,” said Olivia Egger, one of the museum’s communications staff.

Normally, the birthday roses are placed by the Visitor Services team, but during this lockdown, with most of the staff sent home, the small security and operations team still working at the site is making sure the tradition stays alive. Every day. The number of roses varies each day, but every day has at least one birthday.




  1. Thank you Michael. Such a heartwarming gesture

  2. Sadly, we’ll have to start planning on a memorial park for those we didn’t have to lose to this “Chinese virus aka invisible scourge”….the Trump/Kushner Tower of Incompetence. They didn’t have to die.

  3. Such a simple act means so much. And when it’s not so simple, it means even more. Thank you, Mikey and team!

  4. dnaportrait@gmail.com
    So proud of you Mikey!

  5. Mikey is the best of the best. His boundless energy and dedication to serve brings quality and integrity to every neighborhood he serves. He is a dear friend who can always be counted on.

  6. We always appreciate seeing the birthday roses whenever we pass the memorial.
    So incredibly thoughtful, thank you for keeping this going.

  7. So, so touching…especially in these times. Thank you.

  8. Thanks for doing what you do!

  9. Wow – this is lovely! Had no idea everyone was taken care of in this way. Is there a place to make donations to support this? Based on the museum’s page related to this effort it seems Mikey has been donating the flowers?