The sign outside may say "delicatessen" but inside the cold cases display skateboards, reports Jennifer Nalewicki in The New York Times (10/13/13). This unlikely merchandising approach happened because "time and money was tight" when Michael J. Sclafani and Valentine Leung leased the space four years ago. The previous tenants left the sign up outside and the cold case inside, so the pair decided to work with what they had – keeping the name "Park Delicatessen" and using the cold case to display "nonperishable goods like vintage skateboards."
In yet another twist, the Park Deli doubles as a florist shop. It turns out that Michael "worked at a flower shop" as a teenager. He later had "a job setting up window displays for Ralph Lauren stores," which "helped him calibrate his eye for artful juxtaposition." Valentine "worked in fashion too, styling photo shoots for Teen Vogue, W and Italian Vogue." The store’s "eclectic merchandise attracts an equally varied customer base" – those who come in for flowers and others for skateboards.
So, on the one hand, their regulars include Dennis Sughrue, who "has been buying flowers here for years." Among the shop’s offerings is the ‘Park Deli Classic,’ "a $38 bouquet of seasonal flora, displayed in soup cans spray painted in "candy colors." On the other hand, there’s Max and Emmett Rhodes, six-year-old twins who come for skateboard lessons and to borrow skateboards for a little while. Valentine feels she and Michael have "brought something special to the neighborhood." "We accidentally created a community," she says. "It happened naturally."