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!

Exploring Elizabeth Street Garden: Nolita’s Little Gem

Throughout the summer and early Fall I’ve tried to stay outside as much as possible, and New York City has offered up many treasures for me to explore further. One of my favorites is the Elizabeth Street Garden. The Elizabeth Street Garden is unique. I’ve found many beautiful gardens in the city’s public park system, and others that are local community gardens. But the Elizabeth Street Garden is of a different type altogether. Although there are many trees, shrubs, and flowers throughout the garden, the main draw is the sculptures and other architectural details salvaged from torn-down buildings over the years. (Some are evidently reproductions as well.)

The site of the Elizabeth Street Garden has a long history as a public space, tracing back almost 200 years to its time as a public school’s open space. Eventually, the school closed and apartments and other businesses were constructed on the school property, but the open space remained. The property became overgrown, and in 1990 the owner of the Elizabeth Street Gallery leased the space and began using it to display some of the gallery’s sculptures. The garden became a beautifully landscaped space, and it was eventually open to the public during limited hours. Unfortunately, in the past few years local residents have learned of the lot’s inclusion in an urban development plan. The garden’s supporters have organized to find a way to protect the garden for the future, but if something doesn’t change the space will likely become a housing development for senior citizens on limited incomes.

The garden is a magical place, a little wild and eclectic. There’s something delightful to see anywhere you look, and plenty of places to sit down in the shade or sun, depending on your preferences, and enjoy the sights, eat a picnic lunch, or read a book. The Elizabeth Street Garden is a neighborhood space. You’ll find parents pushing their babies in strollers, employees of nearby businesses taking their lunch break, and the occasional wanderer (like me) seeking a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city.

If you want to visit the garden, it is located on Elizabeth Street between Spring Street and Prince Street in the Manhattan neighborhood of Nolita. This website shows its open hours. If traveling by subway, the closest stations are the 2nd Avenue Station (F train), the Spring Street Station (6 train), the Prince Street Station (R or W trains), or the Broadway-Lafayette Station (B, D, F, or M trains).

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.

Summer Flowers in Stuyvesant Square

Green space is highly prized in New York City, and as you travel south along Second Avenue towards the Lower East Side of Manhattan, you will come upon one of the jewels in the New York City park system: Stuyvesant Square. In 1836, the land for Stuyvesant Square was donated to the city by Peter Gerard Stuyvesant and his wife Helen Rutherford Stuyvesant to be made into park. The new park, ultimately named Stuyvesant Square, opened in 1850. Today, the park straddles Second Avenue, and both sides are equally lovely.

Despite the busyness of Second Avenue, the park itself is a peaceful destination, the perfect place to people watch or read a book while sitting on one of the park’s many shaded benches. There’s a large dog park as well, although on the day I visited it was so hot that there weren’t many dogs playing in that fenced area, and those who were there weren’t in the mood for a run.

The summer flowers drew me to the park this time. The colors were bright, with occasional buzzing bees stopping by.

The alium flowers, always among my favorite, were almost gone for the season – but even their dried brown stems and petals were appealing.

You’ll catch a glimpse of the nearby Fifteenth Street Quaker Meeting House and Friends Seminary, to the east, as well as the spires of St. George’s Episcopal Church.

There are also two statues in the park. The first is a statue of Peter Stuyvesant, the park donor’s ancestor. The original Peter Stuyvesant was Director of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, the predecessor to New York City, from 1647 to 1664. The sculptor was Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, an artist and art patron most commonly known for founding the Whitney Museum. You’ll find the statue of Peter Stuyvesant in the part of the park located west of Second Avenue.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the park’s other sculpture, a three-quarters’ perspective of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak located on the park’s northeast side. Dvorak lived in the neighborhood next to Stuyvesant Square for a few years while he served as Director of the National Conservatory of Music in America. The sculptor of this work was Croatian-American artist Ivan Mestrovic. (Since I missed this one, you can find a photo of the Dvorak sculpture here.)

Want to spend a little time in this park yourself? You will find Stuyvesant Square on Second Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets. It’s a short distance from the L train’s 3rd Avenue station, or you can take the the 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, or W trains to 14th Street-Union Square, and then walk east a few blocks.

Central Park’s Conservatory Garden in the Spring

This is a post that is almost out of season (after all, Spring is over in a matter of days), but my busy schedule during this past semester meant that I never posted about a delightful walk I took several weeks ago in Central Park. Before we turn to Summer I thought I would revisit it, bringing you along with me this time.

One thing I love about Central Park is its vast size – if I fancy a long trek, I can explore for hours. If I have the time, I won’t start at the southern end of the park, at 59th Street. That part of the park is too busy, too close to hotels and tourist attractions. Most tourists travel only so far into the park, making those southern paths crowded in good weather. Often, I’m in the mood for a more introspective walk and seek the quiet of the park’s northern end instead. Today, we have the time so let’s head north. Let’s start with the Conservatory Garden, which we last explored in Autumn.

The Conservatory Garden in Spring is a feast for the eyes. After the cold dreariness of Winter, the greens appear more vibrant. Leaves are unfolding on the trees, each variety a slightly different shade. The yew tips are a bright chartreuse, in contrast with the darker old growth. The varying greens provide a backdrop for the Spring blooms we’ll discover along our way, some delicate, even tiny, while others bold and bright.

First we come to the lavender-tinged wisteria pergola, with the yew shrubs fanned out below.

To either side of the pergola stretch espalier trees, their twisted trunks and branches stretched across brick walls.

But now we’re on a search for flowers. Let’s see what we discover along the way. I’m not sure what these are, but I enjoyed the tight buds and pure white petals.

Here’s some just-blooming azaleas, their magenta flecks reminding me somehow of freckles.

And some Delaware Valley white azaleas, as well.

On to more flowers. We find daffodils.

Bright orange tulips.

Entire beds of tulips bordered by grape hyacinth, a riot of colors. Upon closer inspection, the tulips show the effects of the elements, but from a distance they are still glorious.

Here’s a favorite of mine, the lilacs. The sweet fragrance brings back memories of childhood, when we had lilacs of every color – white, pale lavender, and darker purple. I stop, remembering those simple days when my sister and I played outside next to the lilacs for hours, decorating our dolls and mud-pies with the flowers. Are you breathing in the scent with me?

Now on to another of my favorite, the alium or ornamental onion. These are in various stages of bloom, making them very interesting indeed.

How about a few more? Some delicate Siberian Bugloss peaking up through the leaves.

And the cushion spurge, its bright yellow flowers almost glowing.

Let’s step out of the Conservatory Garden and take a stroll towards the Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy Reservoir. There are few flowers along this route, and we have to dodge cyclists and runners periodically, but it is a peaceful, overcast day. There are some trees blooming in the distance to admire along the way.

Soon we reach the reservoir and are standing on the edge of the one-way path around its waters. What beautiful views! Look closely – there are some Japanese cherry trees blooming on the other side, and we have some impressive perspectives of the city skyline, looking first westward to the Upper West Side and then south towards Midtown.

Finally, as we head to one of the paths leading out of Central Park, we stumble upon this monument to former New York City Mayor John Purroy Mitchel. Curious as to why Mitchel, among so many mayors in the city’s history, had been honored with a monument, I did a little research. I discovered that Mitchel served as mayor from 1914 to 1917 and was the youngest mayor in the city’s history when elected at age 34. In a time of rampant corruption in city politics, Mitchel gained a reputation for being a reformer. Once the United States entered the First World War, Mitchel enlisted in the Army Air Corps. (He had just lost his reelection bid.) Unfortunately, Mitchel was killed in a tragic training accident in Louisiana in 1918 – he fell from his plane to the ground some 500 feet below.

And with that brief history lesson, our exploration is over for the day. I think this walk is a good one for Jo’s Monday Walks, don’t you? If you have checked out Jo’s blog, I recommend it!

A Carnival of Flowers at Macy’s

One of the sure signs of Spring in New York City is the Macy’s Flower Show. The show, which has a different theme each year, first began in 1946. This year’s theme was “Carnival.”

There are two major parts to the Flower Show. First, even before you enter the department store, there are the elaborately decorated windows. (Forgive the reflections on the windows – it’s hard to take good photos in the light!)

Having admired the windows outside, let’s go through the main entrance to see what we find inside. There’s plenty more to see, although we’ll have to navigate the crowds if we want to take any photos. As we come upon the carousel, you can hear the organ playing a tune and the animals rise up and down.

Isn’t this fun? Make sure to look up as well. There are flowers and scenes scattered high and low throughout the first floor, so much that your senses are overloaded.

Want to join in the fun? Put your head in the holes and pose for a photo! Look! We caught someone doing that very thing!

Or maybe posing before a fun house mirror is more your thing.

Unfortunately, the show is already over – so if you want to see it for yourself, you will have to visit next year! In New York City, the Flower Show is at the Macy’s Herald Square location (touted as the largest department store in the world), but it’s held at the Chicago and San Francisco stores as well. Want to see what last year’s show looked like? I wrote about it here.

Heading Indoors to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Conservatories

The weather’s terrible in New York City today (in fact, I’m home writing this because the university closed for the day), and this winter weather is making me long for spring. I thought I would take us somewhere warm, with flowers and green plants – but where should we go? How about the conservatories at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden? We can travel to multiple climate zones in a single afternoon! I’ve written about the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Bonsai Museum previously (you’ll find it here), but there are several other indoor garden spaces nearby.

As soon as we enter the conservatory complex, things are looking promising. We come across this sculpture suspended from the ceiling, made entirely of botanical materials. Doesn’t it look intriguing? The sculpture, titled Windfall, is by artist Shayne Dark. It was created using apple wood root balls and aircraft cable.

Let’s head downstairs to the conservatory entrances. First, there’s the Warm Temperate Pavilion. What geographic areas are located in warm temperate regions? The botanic garden’s website includes this list: “the Mediterranean basin; South Africa; Australia; New Zealand; Eastern Asia; western coastal regions of North America (mainly California); and western coastal regions of South America (mainly Chile).” The entrance to the pavilion makes me feel like we are exiting a cave and going back into the light.

Here are a few of the plants and flowers we spy as we stroll through the Warm Temperate Pavilion.

Next stop: the Tropical Pavilion. The Tropical Pavilion includes representative plant life from the Amazon basin in South America, as well as tropical areas of Africa and eastern Asia.

The Desert Pavilion has interesting cactus specimens – some I’ve never seen before.

Finally, let’s step into the Aquatic House, which is also home to the botanic garden’s orchids.

It might be a snowy, icy, windy day outside, but our tour of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Conservatory has me feeling much warmer! I hope you are staying warm as well.

The Conservatories, as well as the rest of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, are open all year around. If you’d like to visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden yourself, you’ll find directions at the end of a previous post I wrote about the Garden, found here.

Take a Stroll with Me Through Rockefeller Park

It’s a cold, snowy day in New York City, and I thought it was the perfect time to take you on a stroll of Rockefeller Park (albeit on a warmer, sunny Autumn day!). The park, named after former New York state governor and Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller, is often not on visitors’ radar. As you’ll see from this post, I think it really should be, as it offers a peaceful, relaxing walk with a variety of sensory experiences – the soothing sounds and sights of water, iconic views of the Statue of Liberty and interesting architecture, the stimulation of seeing wildlife, gardens, and public art. Outside of Central Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Rockefeller Park is probably my favorite outdoor space in the city.

So let’s start our tour. I usually take the subway to the World Trade Center area, near the Oculus transportation hub. Once we exit the station, we head west on Vesey Street toward the Hudson River, a walk of just a few blocks. Along the way, we pass One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial, Brookfield Place (an indoor shopping center), and the Irish Hunger Memorial.

We’ve now arrived at the Hudson River, which stretches along the west side of Manhattan. We have officially entered Rockefeller Park. Here, let’s briefly turn left and walk a short distance. There are two tall, narrow sculptural columns, titled Pylons, created by sculptor Martin Puryear. (Remember Martin Puryear? He created the wonderful elephant sculpture in Madison Square Park, shown in this previous blog post.)

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As we look across the water, we spy the Statue of Liberty in the distance. A little to the right is the former immigration center turned historical site and museum, Ellis Island. And further in the distance, that’s New Jersey!

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Turning back and walking in the other direction, we enter the main part of Rockefeller Park. First, we discover the lily pond, the sound of the small waterfall along its one side creating a sense of zen. It’s too late in the season for water lilies, but there are some wild Mallard ducks taking a swim.

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Along the edge of the lily pond, we spot this poem by Mark Strand, “The Continuous Life”:

What of the neighborhood homes awash
In a silver light, of children hunched in the bushes,
Watching the grown-ups for signs of surrender,
Signs that the irregular pleasures of moving
From day to day, of being adrift on the swell of duty,
Have run their course? O parents, confess
To your little ones the night is a long way off
And your taste for the mundane grows; tell them
Your worship of household chores has barely begun;
Describe the beauty of shovels and rakes, brooms and mops;
Say there will always be cooking and cleaning to do,
That one thing leads to another, which leads to another;
Explain that you live between two great darks, the first
With an ending, the second without one, that the luckiest
Thing is having been born, that you live in a blur
Of hours and days, months and years, and believe
It has meaning, despite the occasional fear
You are slipping away with nothing completed, nothing
To prove you existed. Tell the children to come inside,
That your search goes on for something you lost—a name,
A family album that fell from its own small matter
Into another, a piece of the dark that might have been yours,
You don’t really know. Say that each of you tries
To keep busy, learning to lean down close and hear
The careless breathing of earth and feel its available
Languor come over you, wave after wave, sending
Small tremors of love through your brief,
Undeniable selves, into your days, and beyond.

As we walk further, there are some Canadian Geese gathered on the expansive green lawn. They are probably taking a break as they make their way south for the winter. On another day, we might see many other birds, but our focus today turns in a different direction.

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Coming up, The Pavilion, by artist Demetri Porphyrios, is nearby. I always find its architectural details interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the site of weddings in warmer months.

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We’re coming to my favorite part of the park – an enclosed area filled with bronze sculptures by Tom Otterness. Does the style seem familiar? I’ve written about other Tom Otterness sculptures, found in the 14th Street/8th Avenue subway station, here. You can choose to view these sculptures as whimsical, or look closer to find the darker commentary on the financial system. It’s up to you. Otterness titled this collection of sculptures The Real World. Some of the sculptures are in plain sight, while others take a little closer look to discover. Here are some examples of what we find.

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I love how these sculptures invite visitors to interact with them. On a busier day, I can see children playing around them, people eating their lunches next to them. Today, we catch these two visitors looking at their cell phones, as they sit next to a phone sculpture!

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We still aren’t done – there are autumn flowers in the gardens to enjoy. Let’s see what we discover there.

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We’re reaching the far end of the park now. Ready to take a break? We can sit a while on these benches, maybe watching the anchored boats bob in the water, or read another chapter in the book we tucked into our bag. If we squint as we look into the distance, we might even catch a glimpse of the Empire State Building!

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Well, our walk is at its end for today. Thank you for joining me!

Although today is not a Monday, I think this is a good walk for Jo’s Monday Walks. Have you checked out Jo’s blog? If you haven’t, I know you will enjoy it. Unfortunately, I don’t meet the January theme for Jude’s Garden Challenge, having discussed an Autumn garden instead of a Winter one, but her blog is definitely worth checking out as well!

Unexpected Treasures at Prospect Park Zoo

The Wildlife Conservation Society has 5 zoos and aquariums (Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and New York Aquarium), and each one has its own strengths and personality. The Prospect Park Zoo, located in Brooklyn, has some interesting animal exhibits, but the animals are not its only draw. The zoo has other delightful features as well, which I’m excited to introduce you too today.

First, let’s explore the animal exhibits. The Prospect Park Zoo is not the largest zoo in New York City, but I found some great animals. Here are photos of some of my favorites. As you come through the zoo’s main entrance, one of the first things you will see is the Sea Lion Court, where California sea lions are swimming. I always love sea lions, as they have such personalities!

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As you continue through the zoo, you’ll discover the Farm, with the usual variety of farm animals. Visitors can purchase food pellets to feed some of the animals. My favorites were the goats and alpacas, who generally were much more interested to see the children who offered food rather than pay any attention to me!

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I think this goat was laughing at me – but what about the turkey photobombing him?
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This alpaca gave me the death stare once it realized I had no food to offer!

There are multiple indoor exhibits, which were very welcome on a hot day. The mongooses were particularly photogenic.

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I also found this dart frog hanging out on the glass of its exhibit space.

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I loved this fennec fox, although it seemed a bit grumpy!

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This group of Golden Lion Tamarins was snuggled close together up in the trees.

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There were a number of other animals as well, but what really intrigued me on this visit were the less expected parts of the zoo, like this peaceful, beautiful path, surrounded by flowers and other plants meant to attract migrating birds, bees, and butterflies.

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I also enjoyed the Discovery Trail, which combined a walk through the woods with animals and interactive opportunities for children. The first animal I came across on the Discovery Trail was this prairie dog.

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A nearby sign invites visitors to “Tunnel like a prairie dog.” When you go through the tunnels (a little low for adults, but doable), you pop up in the bubbles next to the prairie dogs!

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On the way to see the ducks and turtles in the ponds, you can hop across a few “lily pads” like a frog, if you like!

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There were more animals and interactive activities (such as a rope “spider web” to climb on and a child-sized “nest,” complete with cracked “eggs” to pose in) on the Discovery Trail, but the one animal that I hoped to see on the Discovery Trail was the red panda, one of my favorite of all animals. Unfortunately they were being shy when I visited. The closest I came was this sighting as I exited the zoo!

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Finally, I discovered this delightful path, host to whimsical metal animal sculptures. I think this may have been my favorite part of the entire zoo, especially the octopus! I hope you enjoy the photos of the  sculptures as much as I enjoyed them.

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Interesting in visiting the Prospect Park Zoo? If traveling by subway, take the B or Q trains to the Prospect Park Station. Make sure that you leave the station using the Flatbush Avenue/Ocean Avenue exit. The zoo is located on Flatbush Avenue on the edge of Prospect Park. For other transportation options or if traveling by car, the Prospect Park Zoo’s website has more information here.

Meandering through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Most visitors to New York City associate the city with hustle and bustle – honking yellow taxis, millions of people crowding sidewalks and tourist attractions, an overload of sensory experiences. Those things certainly exist here, but New Yorkers also know that there are places to get some sunshine and take a relaxing, quiet walk. One favorite is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, located on the edge of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

Wanting to get outside and do some walking after several days of sitting at my desk, I recently explored the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s outdoor gardens. Of course, I chose one of the hottest days of the summer, over 90° F (almost 33° C). It was definitely quite warm, but the nice thing about going to a botanical garden is there is plenty of shade scattered throughout the grounds. And it was still a lovely day, with much to see and photograph throughout the gardens.

I found a variety of flowers blooming during my walk.

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Nearby was this interesting insect house, constructed from sections of tree limbs and twigs.

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There were also the delicate lilies at the Lily Pool Terrace.

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The pond also hosts these lovely lotus flowers.

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At the middle of the Lily Pool Terrace is the fountain seen in the corner of this photo.

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Visitors will also find the conservatory building nearby, as well as the beautiful glass Palm House, which now functions as a special event venue.

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One of the things I love about the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is its invitation to interact with the plants, as this photo demonstrates.

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There is also a lovely children’s garden, more than 100 years old, where thousands of city children have learned how to grow flowers and vegetables over the years. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden still offers classes for children from 2 to 17 years old. This photo shows the Frances M. Miner Children’s House, which holds children’s garden tools. The building’s namesake taught children’s gardening classes for more than 40 years, from 1930 to 1973.

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There are a number of other delightful gardens as well. I discovered the Fragrance Garden, which the sign described as the first garden in the United States to be designed specifically for visually impaired visitors. The flowers and herbs in this garden were chosen for their scents, textures, and the shapes of the leaves. Many plants have small identification signs in braille, and visitors are encouraged to gently touch the plants to fully enjoy them. The flowers’ scents were heavenly.

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Next door, I found the Shakespeare Garden, home to various plants, herbs, flowers, and trees mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. Periodically, visitors may spy small signs with Shakespearean quotes about the plants.

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The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden was a lovely, peaceful place to spend some time. The sign at its entrance stated that the garden was designed by landscape designer Takeo Shiota and first opened to the public in 1915.

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In the Spring, these Japanese cherry trees plays host to the popular Cherry Blossom Festival, Sakura Matsuri, but mid-summer it’s a quiet grove, lined with shaded benches perfect for reading a book, eating a picnic lunch, or just enjoying the leaves waving in the breeze.

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Finally, I toured the Cranford Rose Garden, with more than 1,000 different varieties of roses. (The sign states it is one of the largest rose collections in North America.) Although the rose garden’s peak season is in May and June, I still found some gorgeous flowers.

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Want to visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden yourself? The garden is lovely all year long, with new things to see as the seasons pass. The garden’s website even has a section showing what plants are currently in bloom, if you are interested in checking it out before your visit. You can find the “Plants in Bloom” here.

To get to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden by public transportation, take the B train (only on weekdays) or Q train to the Prospect Park station, the 2 or 3 train to the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum stop (I’ve previously written about the art at that station here), or the 4 or 5 train to Franklin Avenue. Those who wish to drive to the garden can find pay parking at 900 Washington Avenue. (Be aware that parking lots may fill to capacity when special events are going on in the area.) The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has three entrances: 455 Flatbush Avenue, 990 Washington Avenue, or 150 Eastern Parkway.

(Although it isn’t Monday, I’m linking this post to Jo’s Monday Walks. If you haven’t checked out her blog before, I recommend it!)