Take a Stroll Through the
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
By Jeremy Grand
In the middle of the concrete desert called Brooklyn, there is an oasis that is just as refreshing as it sounds. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, located right next to the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Prospect Park, is the perfect non-beach summer day trip.
There were hoards of people and insane amounts of traffic, but once inside, the smell of lilacs and freshly budding flowers and trees hits your nose with the same strength and goodness of a bakery at six in the morning. The crowd was enormous, but oddly enough, flowers and foliage does something to people that makes them a little bit nicer and more polite, at least for a day.
From the beginning of April throughout the middle of May, the gardens hosted a cherry blossom festival, with a massive tent set up to house international musicians and performers, as well as a dangling carrot for LARPers and Harajuku kids. The tent was right in between what seemed like hundreds of beautifully blooming cherry trees, raining countless flower pedals onto anyone that walked underneath them.
The park itself is huge, so allowing more than a few hours to explore is recommended. The Japanese garden is a big people pleaser, with everyone who walks by stopping to look at the hundreds of colorful koi fish swimming around, and if you are one of the lucky ones to see it, jumping out of the water. There is also a fragrance garden, a lilac path (a great sensory experience), and a rock garden (whose paths are tight, but pretty nonetheless.)
The conservatory is also the main hub, with an overcrowded food court, and indoor themed gardens, featuring desert plants, tropical plants, and local flora and fauna, all of which are fairly unimpressive. The tulips in front of the building, however, were a major photographic spot. The more impressive are the outdoor gardens, and there is far more room to move about in the great fresh air gardens.
A great trip for the day (probably better maneuverable during the week), not too expensive, a wonderful place to take your camera, and a fantastic excuse for exercise; the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a treat for everyone who can appreciate a good flower. For more information, visit their Web site.
Photos by Damien Monaco and Jeremy Grand.
Published June 1, 2008
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