15/50 NYC Adventures: The New York Botanical Gardens

The New York Botanical Gardens

If you want to spend a lovely Saturday away from the maniacal urban jungle of Manhattan, the New York Botanical Garden, located in the Bronx, is the perfect prescription. Just a stones throw outside the city, this expansive green space will give your lungs the full breath of fresh air they’ve been longing for. We had been hearing so much about this little escape outside the city, so we made a plan to catch the spring blooms for the beginning of May. Let me just tell you – it was PERFECT. Making it even more perfect? My delightful Aunt Shirley drove over from Connecticut and joined us for a day of lounging, waltzing around the gardens, and sniffing about every kind of bloom imaginable. And her company is always a pleasure, so it was pretty much the most. Perfect. Day.

Getting There.

There are several ways to get out of the city and up to the Garden. We took the C train from the 86th street stop and then switched to the D train at 125th (which is an express) and took that all the way. Our total travel time was about 50 minutes. It was just so easy. However, we learned a small lesson by taking the subway. You want to ride one of the cars in the back of the D subway. We rode in the front car and came up out of the subway several blocks away from the Garden entrance. Thankfully, an adorable 65-year old Italian New Yorker was standing outside a convenient store, clutching his tiny cup to-go cup of coffee, kibitzing with a few others in the sunshine. He stopped us in our tracks, "Hey, you two trying to get to the gaahden?"

He was very New York. I just grinned at him in wonder. What an excellent accent.

"You don't look like you're frahm around he-ya. The entrance to tha gaahden is 3 blahcks away. You gahtta sit on tha back train cah next time."

Then he proceeded to congratulate me on my burgeoning belly and told us some stories about his three grandchildren. He was precious. People are just precious. Thankfully, his advice was sound and we wound our way around the Bronx and found ourselves at the entrance to the garden. It was mesmerizing from then on.

// We got in trouble for walking on this grass. Yes, seriously. //

The Garden.

What can I say? There is SO MUCH to do at this garden, you can't really do it all in a day. However, you can ride the trolly around the entire landscape and at least get to see most everything, even if you don't experience all the different exhibits up close.

// My dear Auntie Shoil. Love her almost too much. //


The Azaleas swept through the entirety of the garden, lighting up the green space in epic hues of hazy pink, rad purple, splashy red and whispery blue. They looked ripe and ready to usher in a wedding party.

// These two. Makes my heart sing. //


The fancy victorian-style Conservatory housed an ethnic variety of plants and flowers from different ecosystems from around the world, including more orchids than I had ever seen. Very exotic, indeed.

// These seriously looked like candy. I wanted to just reach out and snatch a bite. Stevie forbade it. //

// We walked a LOT, so I sat a lot, too. Gotta take breaks for the tootsies! //

Native Plant Garden

The Native Plant Garden guided us on a historic walk, designed entirely in a modern aesthetic, and showcased plants and wildlife indigenous to northeastern North America.

// It's like he's checking out her booty. Even ducks like a good round behind! //

Everett Children's Adventure Garden

One of my favorite parts was the Everett Children's Adventure Garden (of course!), outside of which there was a bustling (free!) wine and cheese mart. I couldn't indulge the way Stevie & Aunt Shirley could, but it was still so much fun, basking in the sunlight, admiring the explosive cherry blossoms and eating fancy cheese. 

// Oh geez. I can only imagine that he was peppering her with incessant questions about the hops/malt/yeast used to design this brew. Those life-long-learners, you gotta watch out for them. //

// I feel terrible that I don't remember their name, but this band played for several hours and they were great! //

// Yeah, I know. Stevie is an absolute GENIUS with our camera. I mean, POW. //

// We three! //

// I swear, someone must have paid these children to play ring-around-the-rosie. I mean, it's just too perfect, right?? //

My Recommendation.

This place is absolutely stunning. If I were going to be around NYC all summer, I would certainly take another trek up to the Garden for the Rose Garden Celebration in July. We got to see the rose bushes on our trolly ride, but to experience their beauty in full bloom would be absolutely Disney-magic-esque. Cmon, New Yorkers, you can do it! Get up out of the city! There are sights to be seen!