Over the final weekend in April, Geoffrey and I went on an urban adventure to the Cherry Blossom Festival (aka Sakura Matsuri) at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and we had all kinds of crazy fun being outdoors in the beautiful nature, and taking many, many (read: too many) photos of the gorgeous flowering trees and other flowers and plants. Super fun!
As a tie-in with the festival, event sponsor BMW (The Ultimate Driving Machine, as it is known) created a Sakura-themed car with a custom paint job covering the car in a cheery cherry blossoms design! Spectacular!
Here is a detail of the finish, up close. If you have been around an assortment of cherry blossoms before you will observe that they have many different blossoms represented, just like they did at the Garden!
I didn’t think to look inside the car to check out the interior, since the ground was a bit damp from rain the previous evening and I was trying to stay off the wet grass as much as possible. Point being that I can’t say whether the floral design carried over to the car’s dashboard and upholstery.
If you haven’t been to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden yet this summer, you really must go while the Lily Pool Terrace is still in bloom, which is through September. Also new to the Garden (since July) are three large-scale installations by Canadian artist Shayne Dark, who brings his work to Brooklyn Botanic as part of a yearlong sculpture exhibit. The first one you’ll see, when you enter at 150 Eastern Parkway, is a group of bright blue-painted poles, which is called Tanglewood. The sculpture sits in the center of the Osborne Garden lawn, which allows viewers to approach it from a distance.
In the excerpt below, from a conversation with Dark, the artist talks to Garden staff about the inspiration behind this work, how he chose his materials, and how he goes about installing such large, complex pieces in a public space.
This work was inspired by Dark’s childhood growing up along the Ottawa River, in Ontario. “In the spring, logs coming down the river would get tangled up in the bend, and the men would come running out to break up these log jams. As a child, I was fascinated by this.”
The sculpture is constructed of cedar poles normally used as fence posts, painted a vivid blue. “For me, color is one of the easiest things to respond to and enjoy.” Dark used a matte theater paint that he discovered years ago while working with his brother on set designs in the Ed Sullivan Theater. “It’s also the same color used to create a blue screen effect. When you use it, there’s an optical illusion, a blurring effect, which is kind of surreal.”
“Other pieces you might place so as to hide and reveal, but for this particular piece, it’s crucial that there be space around it so that your perspective changes as you come closer…so that it becomes monumental,” says Dark. Each installation of Tanglewood is unique, and Dark added individual posts to the sculpture once it was placed on-site.
Tanglewood will be on exhibit at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden through July, 2017.
If you are like me, you are trying to cram as much summer fun into the remaining few weeks of summer as possible; and it’s always rewarding to take advantage of the nice weather by spending time outdoors while you can do so wearing as few items of clothing on as possible! Outdoors, yay!
If you are paying attention to my personal activity schedule, as chronicled on this blog during Summer of Fun 2015, then you might recall that Geoffrey and I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden earlier in the season, and had just ridiculous amounts of fun. But the garden is very huge and we only managed to see less than half of the grounds before exhaustion set in. So, we had to go back again.
One of the areas we had yet to explore is called Lily Pool Terrace, which sounds very posh. As the sign above indicates, the Lily Pool Terrace is home to many shimmering pools and fountains, featuring nearly 100 kinds of sacred lotuses, and hardy and tropical water-lilies which bloom in July, August and September.
So, you know what that means: if you want to see the Lily Pool Terrace in action, you have to go right now!
Here are some photos I took, to get you excited!
We saw lotuses of red, yellow, pink and purple on our visit.
All of the glass buildings you see in these photos have plants in them as well.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is Located at 150 Eastern Parkway, with entrances also at 455 Flatbush Avenue, and also at 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225. Take the 2 or 3 to Eastern Parkway if that train is near you! Otherwise, get other directions, plus more information to help plan your visit, at This Link!
When you enter into, or exit from, the subway at the Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum stop, you can’t help but notice that you appear to have entered a showcase for the spoils from some kind of urban archaeological dig. Dozens of artifacts are embedded into the walls to create as stunning a display as anything you’ll see inside the museum.
The permanent installation is part of MTA Arts & Design (formerly Arts for Transit). The 2/3 train subway stop at this station features 78 pieces from the Brooklyn Museum’s own collection of ornaments taken from New York City buildings that are long gone. In fact, the Museum has long served as a repository for ornamental architectural forms salvaged from significant buildings that were being demolished. For installation, mosaic tiles were added along the walls to frame the objects.
Here are some of our favorite pieces photographed this unique subway station. Enjoy!
It was a complete accident that Geoffrey and I ended up making a pit stop at the gorgeous Brooklyn Botanic Garden as part of a recent trip to visit the Brooklyn Museum. It wasn’t until we were on the train that I noticed (for the first time, ever) that the Eastern Parkway Stop off the 2 and 3 is also the stop for the BBG, so I suggested to Geoffrey that we “See how far away it is from the museum” once we got out of the subway. What we discovered, much to our ecstatic delight, is that the Garden is literally right next to the Museum. It could not possibly have been more conveniently located. Even better, Geoffrey’s work ID card got us in for free, and since we had no strict agenda to follow, we spent over an hour exploring nature as a prelude to some hardcore, art-viewing action. It was an amazing day!
Make sure you pick up a map of the grounds at the entrance because, while it is fun to just wander freely, the place is massive, and you might find that there are certain areas you want to make sure you see before you need to head out.
Sunscreen is recommended on a bright sunny day, but even if you are looking to get a tan, there are plenty of shady areas to walk, such as this trellis-covered path that took us to our first stop, the Native Flora Garden.
The Native Flora Garden feels like being on a forest path, where you can see hundreds of plants that are native the New York Metropolitan area. It is flat terrain, but it is still a nice hike.
Y0u can also spot birds and other small wildlife.
Limestone Ledge. All of Manhattan used to look like this.
There are lots of wild flowers as well. Most have identifying signs near them so you know what you are looking at. Educational!
The people who created this fountain are truly outdoor fountain pros. I wanted to jump into this fountain to cool off, but it is not allowed.
Next, we headed over to the Cranford Rose Garden.
There must be thousands of Rose bushes, plus other flowers and flowering plants in this garden.
Looking at all of these beautiful rose bushes made me feel extremely nostalgic for my late Grandmother, who had an incredible green thumb and was always so proud of her rose garden.
You could take a million pictures. I nearly did!
Remember that flowers mean that there will be bees buzzing about, doing their thing. If you are allergic, please use caution, but never swat at a bee! Bees make our food. Please let them live.
Looking for a shady place to sit and rest, our next stop was the Cherry Esplanade.
The Cherry Esplanade is rows and rows of Cherry trees that are no longer flowering by Summer, but which provide a gorgeous green shade just the same.
At the end of the Esplanade is the Rose Arc Pool. More Flowers! More Bees! More Sun! Nature is Awesome!
If you walk up to that building and take a left, you’ll end up at the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.
The pond is a bit green, to say the least, but you can see fish and turtles swimming in it. The Red Archway in the water is called a Torii. It is commonly found at the entrance to a Shinto temple or shrine.
Japanese Maple Tree.
We stopped by the gift shop for quick a browse before making our way back over to the Museum, where we had an excellent time before returning to the city for dinner. I can’t wait to go back to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to see everything we missed on our first trip!
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is Located at 150 Eastern Parkway, with entrances also at 455 Flatbush Avenue, and also at 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225. Take the 2 or 3 to Eastern Parkway if that train is near you! Otherwise, get other directions, plus more information to help plan your visit at This Link!