Craigslist

Buy your plants on Craigslist

As I got older, my tastes changed, but my Craigslist addiction didn’t. I found and lost apartments there, bought the little-worn sofas of the rich and the dusty air conditioners of the neighbors. So perhaps it’s no surprise that at the start of the pandemic, I started mindlessly entering plant in the search bar and scrolling with no real purpose.

Each plant was a tiny thumbnail: a fiddle leaf that sold cheaply in Tribeca – too big and cumbersome to fit in a moving truck as its owner abandoned the kind of luxury building that emptied as the number cases increased. Corn plants gather dust in downtown waiting rooms, displayed by office administrators tasked with unloading them. Plant Craigslist became a way to spend time in isolation and, I began to realize, to experience the strangers and weirdness of the city as the streets quieted around me. In the first weeks of March 2020, there were very few ways to casually encounter the lives of others, but each list offered small glimpses.

The titles started to feel revealing in their own way. “Real plant”: a sparse description given to what I assume was a real plant. A cactus listed as a “friendly hand” that looked exactly like what you’d expect – cartoon fingers reaching out to meet the light. The crouching “potted plant” with a blurry photo to the point of simply to suggest vegetation, as if it couldn’t stand still long enough for a clear shot.

The pandemic continued and I continued to scroll. It was rare for me to buy anything, but these purchases now remind me of another time. A plant holder I picked up in Clinton Hill from a woman named Barbi became a stool later that day when I visited a friend for hanging. I moved twice in the first 18 months of the pandemic, and the plants I collected during that time reflected how much I had changed when I moved from a dark railroad apartment with three One-bedroom roommates with south-facing windows that caught the sun at all hours. The sequencing was satisfyingly consistent – ​​as my life filled with light, plants grew in space.

Photo: Clio Chang

Earlier in the pandemic, there was a certain cadence in the listings — like the whole city had a stressful distance fire sale — but the “For Sale” section was always about transition. If someone sells a plant, I’ve found, it usually means they’re going through something. Over the past two years, you could almost chart the course of time as the lists reverted to more familiar types of change: breakups, new jobs, even just accepting that you have too many factories. (No doubt I should cut, but I’ve adopted another garden’s motto when it comes to welcoming new plants: When you’re here, you’re family.) Even though I went back to the brick-and-mortar plant stores that I used to frequent, I keep an eye on Craigslist. I always like a bargain and I always want to spy on the lives of other New Yorkers.

Last fall, I bought a two-foot-tall elephant ear plant on Craigslist from a woman in Crown Heights. It was a hot day, so I took it home in my bike bag, with the flat leaves sticking out of the top, rustling in the breeze. The plant managed to survive the dry heat of my apartment in the winter and looks like it could last, but I’ve given up on certainty over the past two years. (To quote a a d for an unknown plant that grows on a tennis ball left in the rain, “Maby you will have a tree one day or a rose you never know. ”) There may come a time when I will have to move to a place with windows or leave town altogether. If I do, however, I’ll know how to find a new home in my beloved greenery — and let someone else talk about me in the process.



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