Friday, March 23, 2007

20 Minutes from Midtown: A National Treasure

The Bronx River

Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

This past weekend, a friend and I decided to head up to the New York Botanical Garden to see the Orchid Show. The plan was to stay out of the cold and leisurely linger over the exquisite flowers; in the hope their vivid tropical colors would hasten spring.

We never made it.

Despite the brisk wind and chill in the air, the open sky and white untouched snow was too bewitching to resist. We quickly forgot about the cold, the comfort of being indoors and opted for a walk around the grounds.

Snow on the streets of New York City is white for only one day before it is piled high and dumped on the sides of streets, where it quickly turns black from air pollution and the constant churn of traffic.

What a difference here, just 20 minutes from Grand Central Station, it feels like you’re in the country; with forest so dense you could be in the Adirondacks. Pristine snow blankets the landscape in silence. Bare leafless trees stand out from the endless varieties of evergreens and pine, their stark beauty a pronounced contrast to the bushy pines.

On the way to the Native Forest, I interrupted a family of boys in the middle of a snowball fight with their Dad. Further on, I met a young man, about four years old, walking a distance from his father, who proudly told me about the many birds he had just seen; one actually ate from his hand. His eyes lit up with excitement when he described a swooping hawk.

My favorite thing is to follow the forest trail. 25 acres of untouched woodland looks very much the way it did when Indians inhabited the region centuries ago. The deep snow made a trek impossible, so I walked along the forest perimeter and discovered something I had not seen before; a rustic stone mill. Built in the 17th century, it stands at the edge of the Bronx River where the sound of rushing water is overpowering. Look below the bridge nearby to capture a mesmerizing view; you’ll see the river frozen in sections, full rapids in others and then a cascading waterfall.

The changing vistas of sky though the course of the afternoon coupled with the buzzing activity of wildlife, from busy squirrels to varieties of birds, made every moment special until we were chased from the grounds at closing time. Click here to see more pictures. Go to: A Day at the Botanical Garden, and select view as a slide show.

Don’t let the cold weather pass before you see the New York Botanical Garden in its winter beauty.

Jacqueline Cable
For Postcards from New York

Address to remember: New York Botanical Garden, 200th Street at Kazimiroff Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458,

Hours: Tues-Sun 10 AM – 6 PM.

Directions: Metro North from Grand Central Station to Botanical Garden Station.

Photos by Joseph Knight

© Copyright 2007 The Cable Group