The saying goes that New Yorkers LOVE nature more than the city itself. After visiting NYBG (New York Botanical Garden), I’d agree. Situated in central Bronx, right next to the Bronx Zoo and Fordham University, and not too far from the storied Arthur Ave Italian neighborhood – it's clear this garden was fashioned with love. Standing at 250 acres, it reigns supreme as the largest garden in any US city.
And it's an old garden. Founded in 1891, it continues to uphold a tradition of beauty, research, and preservation. These flowers, and the folks that love them, got old-fashioned "stayin' power." My friend Lisa and I visited in May, and what could we say but – “GORGE” (pun intended, as NYBG has a gorge).
From the purple tulips who sweetly greeted us at the entrance (a Dutch “hallo”), to Helen’s enchanting Garden for the Senses (inhale!), then a wish made to Italy’s trevi fountain (Lisa had her good-luck penny handy) – our botanical excursion was delightful. There was also a cheerful narcissus (not a black one, circa my fave 1947 flick), and a bevy of croaking frogs that Lisa and I just COULDN’T locate. But we saw an iguana! Cute fella.
In addition to outdoor flower stations meant to arouse your five senses, the park also houses an array of buildings whose indoor treasures undoubtedly stimulate the mind. There is a conservatory, an art gallery, a laboratory. Lisa and I declined – the warm weather was just too fantastic. We were content to stay outside, and sun ourselves in what was one of New York City’s first “nice” days of 2019. But the opportunity for more indoor learning was there. For purely aesthetic reasons, I loved the conservatory draped outside with tall, lazy palm trees. Palm trees in the Bronx? MAGICAL.
Magic indeed was the theme of the day. We walked up picturesque paths which transported us to far-off flowery worlds, and yet in the near distance – there was a big iron skyscraper. We ate our sorbets under a giant sun-drenched canopy, as we turned to each other and marveled – “We’re in the Bronx?” Lisa and I even stumbled upon the nicest public restrooms EVER (unintentionally crashing a banquet hall pre-banquet?). New York Botanical Garden is a true urban oasis. From daffodils, roses, even an impressive rock station, and even a pristine and fragrant public bathroom – NYBG begs you to explore. I have a feeling Lisa and I will return for more.
To see this New York City treasure, tickets can be purchased at www.nybg.org or at the front entrance. An all-day pass is $28. The garden is accessible by car, subway, bus, or by Metro-North train (Botanical Garden stop).