Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Bonsai Museum

During the cold winter months, you might not usually think of visiting a botanical garden. But the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum (as well as other indoor conservatories) make this garden a perfect place to visit on a cold, blustery day. What makes the Bonsai Museum so special is that it’s home to a collection of approximately 350 trees – the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s website states that it is “one of the finest in the world.” Most of these trees are not on exhibit at the same time; instead, curators rotate trees from the collection in and out of the modern and light indoor verandah.

I last went in late fall on a windy day, and the exhibition included both evergreen and deciduous trees. Here are some of my favorites, which all posed for photos. I particularly like the architectural effect of the trees that are almost stripped bare of leaves. They cast some great shadows as well!

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One of the great things about the Bonsai Museum is that different trees are on display throughout the year. Who knows what you might find when you visit! You’ll find the directions to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden at the end of a previous post I wrote about the Garden, found here.

Central Park’s North End

As much as I love the city, sometimes I need to spend some time in a quieter, slower green space (especially during stressful times like it’s been recently here). Thankfully, that’s possible to find even in the midst of the city. There are some great parks throughout the city, but last weekend I wanted to see if the leaves were changing in Central Park. Most people who visit Central Park visit the southern end of the park (and I’ve previously written about that part of the park here), but the northern end is a hidden gem. That’s where we decided to head this time.

Central Park stretches from 59th Street all the way to 110th Street, and we headed towards the entrance to the park at 105th Street and Fifth Avenue, on the east side of the park. Here, visitors can walk through the Vanderbilt Gate into the Conservatory Garden, one of my favorite sections of Central Park.

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Even though it is Autumn, the conservatory garden still offers a variety of colorful flowers – all with a fall vibe.

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And there are also two special fountains located at opposite parts of the garden. First, there’s this delightful fountain, known as the Burnett Fountain, which can be found in the South Garden. The fountain is a tribute to children’s book author Frances Hodgson Burnett and is surrounded by a lily pond.

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In the North Garden there’s also this vibrant, joyful fountain, known as the Untermyer Fountain.

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Throughout all of Central Park, including the Conservatory Garden, you can find benches where you can sit and take a break. They are great locations for people-watching (and dog-watching, as many locals walk their dogs in Central Park). Many of the benches have been sponsored, and small plaques give information about the sponsorship. (In fact, there’s an entire Instagram account dedicated entirely to sponsored benches: @centralparkbenches)

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The formality of the Conservatory Gardens is restful and appeals to my orderly mind, but the walk doesn’t have to end there. If you continue further north, you will soon stumble upon the Harlem Meer. Across the water sits the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, which offers a variety of special park programming.

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After meandering around the Harlem Meer, if you keep walking you can explore the shaded North Woods. This is one of the hillier parts of the parks, and it periodically offers small clearings with rocks, fallen trees, or benches to rest on. Eventually, you’ll crest the top of the Great Hill, an open area where local New Yorkers play a variety of sports. It’s fun to sit and people watch, and through the trees it’s possible to spy some of the iconic apartment buildings on the city’s Upper West Side. Continue along the path traveling south once again, and there are more waterways, quaint wooden bridges and benches, and fall foliage.

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I think this post would be a good one for Jo’s Monday Walks. If you haven’t checked out Jo’s blog, I recommend it!

Subway Station Art – Delancey Street Station

The Delancey Street subway station, home to the F line on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, is host to some beautiful mosaic murals by Chinese artist Ming Fay.

Located on the Manhattan-bound side at the Delancey Street station is a large mural titled “Delancey Orchard,” which contains several cherry trees. At one time the Delancey family owned a farm in the area that contained a cherry orchard, and this mural commemorates that history.

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If you walk along the platform on the Manhattan-bound side, you will also see small cherry mosaics that continue the orchard theme.

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On the Brooklyn-bound side, there is a mural of fish called “Shad Crossing.” Shad are a type of fish in local waterways around New York City.

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That motif is continued on one of the stairwells connecting the platform to the subway station’s mezzanine.

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There are also these small fish mosaics along the Brooklyn-bound platform.

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If you want to see Ming Fay’s mosaic murals, you can take the F train to Delancey Street. That station also connects to the Essex Street station, which is accessible from the J or Z trains. If you are interested in Ming Fay’s work, you may also want to visit the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in Manhattan (the Whitehall Terminal), as he also designed the benches, a form of functional public art, in that terminal.