A Saturday Stroll at Wave Hill

I’ve titled this post “A Saturday Stroll,” but it took a little more effort to get to our destination, Wave Hill. We decided on Saturday to go somewhere we’ve never been before, but we didn’t want to travel too far. Ultimately, we set our sights on Wave Hill. Wave Hill is a public garden located in the Bronx community of Riverdale. Although it is located in New York City, it is not directly accessible by subway. Instead, we set out on the Metro North Railroad. If I’d read Wave Hill’s website carefully, we would have known that a shuttle van picks visitors up at the train station; instead, we walked to the garden’s entrance. It was a fairly steep uphill trek of a little over half a mile – although doable, I’d likely wait for the shuttle on a return visit. The road was narrow, and much of it didn’t have sidewalks.

Our uphill efforts were rewarded when we arrived at Wave Hill’s entrance. The gardens are beautiful! Wave Hill started out as a wealthy family’s private home, and it has an interesting history. As a child, Theodore Roosevelt stayed at Wave Hill with his family, and later the famous American author Mark Twain leased the estate. In 1960, the owners deeded Wave Hill to the city, and it eventually opened as a public garden and cultural center.

Almost immediately we came across the flower gardens, which are beautiful at this time of year. The vibrant colors were the first things that drew my attention, but then I noticed the butterflies! There were gorgeous Monarch butterflies everywhere I looked. I can’t even count the number of butterfly photographs I took while we were there, but it was a wonderful experience to see them.

The was such a variety of flowers blooming, and plenty of bees collecting pollen as well. If you enjoy macro photography, this is the place for you.

Nearby, we found the greenhouses. More treasures are located inside, particularly cacti and succulents.

We meander down various paths to other parts of the gardens. Dodging a water sprinkler, we arrive at the arbors. Although I expected to see grape vines, I was fascinated to find squash and gourds hanging from above as well.

Let’s explore further. At the end of another path we found Wave Hill House, the estate’s former mansion, now home to the cafe.

There were paths to walk through the shaded woods. Along the edge of the woods stood these evergreen trees, showcasing the range of colors and textures provided by nature. There were so many shades of green!

Coming through on the other side of the shaded woods, we climbed back up the hill to experience the views of the Hudson River and steep cliffs of the Palisades in New Jersey. Across the wide expanse of lawn we discover pairs of wooden chairs, perfectly situated to appreciate the gardens and river views. We had to stop for a while and take everything in.

Just when we thought we had exhausted all paths, we discovered Glyndor House, another large house on the property that is now home to the Glyndor Gallery. The current exhibition is titled “Call and Response,” and includes art responsive to the gallery’s location in the midst of Wave Hill. From my understanding, the exhibitions change periodically, but there is almost always some type of art installation at Glyndor House. After viewing the art, it was time to take our walk back to the train station. This time, the walk went much quicker, as it was all downhill.

Want to visit Wave Hill and see the gardens for yourself? If traveling by public transportation, you’ll be glad to know that I discovered (after our trip, of course) that Wave Hill runs a free shuttle van between the gardens and the train station, as well as to the West 242nd Street subway station (1 train). Details about travel to Wave Hill, as well as directions for those traveling by car, are available here.

I think our stroll at Wave Hill is a good one for Jo’s Monday Walks. Have you checked out Jo’s blog? I recommend it!

Experiencing Community in the LaGuardia Corner Gardens

The past couple of months have been busy ones, taking me away from my blog for a time as my students have required much of my time. (I’m an assistant dean at a law school, and my classes began the last week of July.) But I’ve still been exploring this wonderful city I call home, and I’ve got a stockpile of treasures I’ve discovered to share with you in the coming weeks. It was such a nice summer I’ve spent much of it outside – walking up and down streets of intriguing neighborhoods, looking for art, architecture, and other delights; hunting down the ever-renewing street art throughout the city; finding moments of quiet contemplation in public parks and community gardens; and even wandering a historic cemetery (or two).

For my first post in quite some time, I thought I’d take you to the LaGuardia Corner Gardens, located in Greenwich Village. I was walking past when the open gate drew me in, and I was glad I stopped. The garden isn’t huge, but there are several shaded spots to sit and enjoy the views.

The garden felt a little wild, and as I’ve read about it more I discovered it is intentionally so. Many plants are volunteers, growing where last year’s seeds dropped. That means a little more work to make your way through the garden, but it’s no reason to deter a visitor seeking a quiet space among the greenery and flowers. It also gave the community garden its own personality, making it a special little gem in the neighborhood that reflects the volunteers’ commitment to maintaining its character.

There were dozens of different flowers and plants throughout the garden. Here are some of my favorites.

If you look up instead of down, however, you’ll be reminded you’re in the middle of the city. These sunflowers made a fun contrast with neighboring buildings.

And then I came upon this little surprise – an heirloom tomato!

Finally, I was excited to capture this photo of a bee. So often, my bee photos turn out blurred, but this one was a success!

Want to visit the LaGuardia Corner Gardens yourself? It is located at 511 LaGuardia Place, between Bleecker and Houston Streets. The gardens are only open limited time periods – I recommend checking the Gardens’ official website, found here, for seasonal hours.