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Apr 28, 2005
One great attraction in our new neighborhood: the spectacular Brooklyn Botanic Garden - an easy walk, just a few blocks away.
Inevitably mis-pronounced as Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (or variations, thereof), I, too, have a problem remembering what's correct and confuse it with the one in the Bronx, whose proper name is the New York Botanical Garden; and, just to confuse matters even more, it used to be called the Bronx Botanical Gardens). Regardless, the BBG is a 39 acre floral paradise that was founded in 1910 on the site of a former ash dump. Today it is considered one of the finest urban gardens in the country. Located across Flatbush Avenue from Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has been a beloved destination for generations of New Yorkers.
It was a destination for us this Wednesday, as we had planned (before leaving for Florida) to visit the Garden with my sister-in-law, Alexis, her daughter (and my niece), Jessica, Jessica's husband, Eddie and their 2-year old daughter, Jordan. Eddie, particularly, had been wanting to see the Garden for quite a while. They would combine a visit to our new apartment (which he had not seen yet) with a trip to the Garden.
It wasn't a great day to be strolling outdoors - it started with heavy rains, then turned cool and cloudy. But by the time the guests arrived, Mother Nature was in a better mood: the clouds drifted away, the sun shone and the temperature climbed. We walked up Underhill Avenue, crossed Eastern Parkway and reached the newly-opened and rebuilt Eastern Parkway entrance. But we passed it by and continued our walk outside the Garden. I wanted to show Eddie the new, and controversial, Brooklyn Museum facade which marries an ultra-modern entrance to the staid, Greco-classical architecture of the main building.
The new front entrance to the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Love it or hate it? Photo by Jake Dobkin.
Not so bad on the inside looking out - it adds a light and uplifting feel to what used to be a gloomy and dark entrance.
I had an ulterior motive in mind in dragging them to see the Museum. Not as controversial as the entrance was the delightful new fountain installed adjacent to it. A computer driven, whimsical fountain that shoots columns of water into the air has been enthusiastically welcomed by children and adults alike. Here's what the New York Times had to say about it:
This building makes its own splash. New York is not a great town for fountains, but it has just come by a spectacular one. Created by WET Design, which is based in Southern California, the new fountain is the apotheosis of that delightful bygone genre of the department stores, dancing waters. Come for the fountain. You might even stay for the art.
Introducing my great great-niece, Jordan!
The dancing fountains at the Brooklyn Museum.
Jordan - likes the camera.
We hung out at the fountains for a while, watching the infinite variations play out. Fascinating. Then we turned the corner on the museum and walked down Washington Avenue entrance. Here we paid the admission, received a map and guide and headed inside. This was the beginning of the annual display of Cherry blossoms which we were eager to see.
Jessie, Eddie and Jordan.
Yum, a Haagen Dazs pop from the Garden Cafe.
And the result from said pop.
We hung out at the ponds in front of the striking, new Conservatory building, watching the goldfish with Jordan as she devoured an ice cream pop and her mom and dad toured the hot house filled with exotic, tropical plants. Then we walked to the northwest side of the Garden to see Cherry Esplanade. The Garden has 200 cherry trees with 42 species and varieties. Combining its size and diversity, the Garden's cherry collection is said to be unmatched outside of those in Japan!
Spectacular blossoms at the BBG!
The tulips are not too shabby either.
A note to you New York readers of this blog -- the blossoms were not quite fully opened on Wednesday. This weekend, April 30th, they should be exploding before your eyes. The subway goes right there. Don't miss it.
We sat for a while on the splendid lawn of Cherry Esplanade - the only place in the Garden where you're allowed to stretch out on the grass -- and for good reason: it was like lying in paradise. Jordan ran around in pure delight. And, equally delighted, I snapped away.You couldn't ask for better subject matter -- innocent youth and beautiful flowers.
Jordan discovers America, or a rock, anyway.
Another beauty, although a bit older than Jordan.