New York in Bloom

7 places to go and things to do now that April’s here

It may come as a shock (but you’ll recover soon enough) to learn that the concrete, steel and glass jungle that is New York City is one of the world’s most luxuriant urban centers. Yes, we locals have green thumbs to spare, whether in horticulture or the arts. Join us as we slough off winter and venture forth into an only-in-New-York spring day.

1. BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN

The serene public garden packs a lot into its 52 lush acres. There’s a Shakespeare garden, a tropical pavilion, a bluebell wood, even a celebrity pathway paved with stones inscribed with the names of famous Brooklynites like Norman Mailer and Barbra Streisand. In spring, cherry blossoms cascade in pink-and-white profusion. Sakura Matsuri, BBG’s annual cherry blossom festival (pictured below), held April 27 and 28, is a genteel reminder of not only the beauty but also the fragility of life. In other words, carpe diem—especially when visiting NYC. 990 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, 718.623.7200, www.bbg.org

2. METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

Is there an artist who captured the rebirth of spring with as much intensity and passion as Vincent van Gogh? Luckily, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection is rich in examples of his voluptuous floral still lifes. “Irises,” painted in spring 1890 when van Gogh was about to leave the asylum at Saint-Rémy in southern France, flowers year-round in Gallery 825 on the museum’s second floor. 1000 Fifth Ave., 212.535.7710, www.metmuseum.org

3. NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN

For the first time in its history, NYBG has named an orchid after a public figure: rapper, actress and native New Yorker Awkwafina, who starred in two of 2018’s most successful movies, “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Ocean’s 8.” The Vanda Awkwafina is an exotic tropical hybrid, with beautiful deep raspberry-red blooms. Savor it, as well as thousands more, during “The Orchid Show: Singapore” (pictured below), through April 28. 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, 718.817.8700, www.nybg.org

4. “MY FAIR LADY”

According to the latest available statistics, 63 percent of visitors to the Big Apple see a Broadway play or musical. For a memorable springtime diversion, the revival of the 1956 Lerner & Loewe tuner is close to perfect. Laura Benanti (pictured below) makes a smashing Eliza Doolittle, the Cockney flower seller who, by mastering her vowels and minding her p’s and q’s, becomes a lady. Loverly? Abso-bloomin’-lutely! Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, 150 W. 65th St., 212.239.6200, www.lct.org

5. MOXY CHELSEA

Wake up and—literally—smell the roses, daffodils, tulips and peonies at this boutique hotel, smack-dab in the heart of the Flower District. You don’t have to be a guest, though, to enjoy The Conservatory (pictured below), a three-story glass atrium with a living wall of plants; by day, it’s a sun-drenched den for working or reading; by night, it’s cocktail central. Since rooftop lounges are the trend du jour in NYC, check out Moxy’s aptly named Fleur Room on the 35th floor. 105 W. 28th St., 212.514.6699, www.moxychelsea.com

6. “THE VESSEL”

Don’t be surprised if you break into a chorus or two of “Climb Every Mountain” as you ascend the 2,500 steps to the top of Manhattan’s newest (it opened in March) public art installation—a $200 million, 150-foot-tall, interactive and Insta-worthy outdoor sculpture/staircase that bears more than a passing resemblance to a giant honeycomb. Wear your comfiest sneakers for a sightseeing experience—and cardio workout—like no other in the city. Hudson Yards, www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com/discover/staircase

7. CENTRAL PARK

For New Yorkers, who mostly dwell in high-rise apartments or walk-ups, Central Park is their 843-acre backyard and playground. It’s the ultimate urban green space. When making a pilgrimage to Strawberry Fields, a two-acre corner and designated quiet zone, be sure to bring a flower to place on top of the “Imagine” memorial (pictured below), which honors Beatle John Lennon who loved New York and died here in 1980. Btw Fifth Avenue and Central Park West, btw 59th and 110th streets, 212.310.6600, www.centralparknyc.org

 

Francis Lewis
About the author

Francis serves as the New York executive editor for Where. G...