Spring into NYC
Spring in New York City is all about new beginnings: the start of baseball season, the budding of hundreds of cherry trees in Brooklyn and the annual orchid show at the Bronx’s New York Botanical Garden. Your clients can also ramble among old-growth trees in Manhattan’s Central Park, visit an outdoor sculpture museum in Queens and see a classical Chinese garden in Staten Island.
Each April and March the Bronx’s New York Botanical Garden fills its glass-walled, Victorian-era conservatory with thousands of orchid blooms. Your clients can also hike through woodlands, sprawl out on Daffodil Hill and take in all manner of ferns, trees and wildflowers in the 3.5 acre (14,164 square-meter) Native Plant Garden.
On nearby Fordham Road from Third to Jerome Avenues visitors will find more than 300 stores—ranging from nationwide chains to locally owned, independent shops—selling apparel, electronics, housewares and more. Art Deco and Art Moderne architectural masterpieces line both sides of the Bronx’s four-mile-long Grand Concourse, modeled after Paris’s Champs-Élysées.
Set within vast Pelham Bay Park—a greenspace that’s three times larger than Manhattan’s Central Park—is the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, a carefully restored Greek Revival house that gives visitors a window into 19th-century life. Spring is a wonderful time to appreciate the estate’s six-acre formal garden, which was laid out in 1916.
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a longstanding tradition, thanks to an elevated walkway for pedestrians and bicyclists. Eighty-five-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park, at the foot of the bridge in Brooklyn Heights, provides an unforgettable backdrop for a spring stroll. The neighborhood is also home to the main branch of the Brooklyn Historical Society, which houses artifacts and artworks that represent Brooklyn through the ages.
A second branch of the museum in Dumbo highlights the neighborhood’s transformation from a 19th-century shipyard to its present incarnation as a hub for culture, food and technology. Right next door is St. Ann’s Warehouse, a renowned theater whose evolution mirrors that of its borough: once a spice factory, the 1,500-seat venue has hosted avant-garde productions like a revival of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins with Marianne Faithfull singing the lead. Bargemusic, a floating concert hall permanently anchored at the Fulton Ferry Landing, presents a program of chamber music year-round. Jacques Torres Chocolate, where visitors can sample the renowned confectioner’s delicious truffles and wickedly spicy hot chocolate, is another Dumbo favorite.
The lush, 52-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Prospect Heights has more than 10,000 varieties of plants from all over the world, including hundreds of cherry trees from 26 different species and cultivars that bloom toward the end of spring.
The borough's 843-acre (3,411,500-square-meter) Central Park stretches from 59th to 110th Streets. Some of the park’s many landmarks include Belvedere Castle, Bethesda Fountain, Bow Bridge and Tavern on the Green, a swanky restaurant that dates back to 1934 and has been featured in many films, including Arthur and Ghostbusters. Strawberry Fields, a tribute to John Lennon, is a must-see for fans of the Beatles and the park’s four-acre (16,187-square-meter) Hallett Nature Sanctuary is an ideal location to see wildflowers in bloom.
After they’ve had their fill of exploring, your clients can get a dose of culture at one of the many museums nearby. The Met Fifth Avenue, which sits across the street from the park’s eastern border, presents 5,000 years of art from every corner of the world under one roof. A few blocks north, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, housed in an iconic building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, has both modern and contemporary art on display. The Museum of Arts and Design, located near the southwest corner of Central Park, stages rotating exhibitions that explore contemporary art and design through a craft lens.
Thanks to the more than 300,000 people who pass through each day, Times Square has earned the nickname “The Crossroads of the World.” The neighborhood is home to Broadway’s 41 theaters, where your clients can catch performances of award-winning comedies, dramas, musicals and revivals seven days a week. The neighborhood’s newest entertainment options include Gulliver’s Gate, a 1:87-scale world with miniature models of New York City icons like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty alongside other famous world landmarks. Families will love National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, an immersive, high-tech entertainment experience that takes visitors on a simulated underwater journey through the Pacific Ocean.
In Long Island City, Queens, your clients can visit SculptureCenter, an industrial gallery that was redesigned under the guidance of artist Maya Lin in 2001 and then expanded in 2014. The museum presents short-term exhibitions from emerging and established artists. A short bus or cab ride away is the Noguchi Museum, a 27,000-square-foot gallery founded and designed by Japanese-American architect and sculptor Isamu Noguchi that is home to the world’s most extensive collection of his designs, drawings, models and sculptures.
Around the block on the waterfront is Socrates Sculpture Park. The a four-acre (16,187 square meters) arts space features rotating exhibitions and amazing views of Roosevelt Island and Midtown East's glittering towers. There’s even a strip of beach ready-made for that perfect skyline photo.
Alice Austen House, a small museum on Staten Island’s East Shore that’s a straightforward bus or cab ride from the St. George Ferry Terminal, makes for a pleasant half-day excursion. Austen, a pioneering 19th-century photographer, grew up in the charming farmhouse and spent much of her life there. Her photographic equipment and prints are on display along with rotating exhibitions from contemporary photographers.
In Snug Harbor your clients can visit the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, where a team of 40 Chinese artists and craftspeople from China’s Suzhou Province worked together to create landscapes that echo the formal gardens of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). The garden has eight pavilions, a bamboo forest path, waterfalls and a koi pond.