Freshman and I met way back 15 years ago when she just entered college and I was a “worldly junior.” She happened to be assigned to live in the dorm room that was my dorm room my freshman year and was the roommate of one of my friends. Because the rest of us were juniors and sophomores and she was sole lowly freshman, I bequeathed her the sobriquet of “Freshman” that she has never been able to shake off. Freshman decided to come out to New York for the weekend to see me and I was delighted to host her as we hadn’t seen each other in a few years.
Today was her last day so I wanted to show her a little bit of New York that slightly off the beaten track for tourists. After a belly stuffing dim sum brunch at Asian Jewels Seafood Restaurant in Flushing, Queens, we headed to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to catch the start of the cherry blossom season. Because of the cold and particularly long winter, the cherry blossoms are just starting to bloom. Just some of the trees in their magnificent collection were blooming today, but it was still incredibly lovely. With the days getting warmer and warmer, I imagine that next weekend the BBG will be spectacular. You can keep track of the cherry blossom watch here to time your visit with peak blossoming. I’m going to try to go back to the BBG soon so that I can see the cherry blossoms at peak.
Even outside of cherry blossom season, the BBG is a wonderful place to visit. Throughout spring and fall there are almost always something in bloom. The magnolias bloom before the cherry blossoms. The large showy white petals display themselves wantonly, like heaving bosoms, when in full bloom until their beauty fades as the petals brown and fall off. Still even past its prime, you can still remnants of beauty and splendor.
And there were glorious splashes of bold color from tulips and daffodils. We walked around, admiring the botanical delights, and the pleasant sunny weather.
One of the things that we were taken aback by was the treehouse art installation called Sandy Remix by Roderick Romero. It was made from the fallen trees from Hurricane Sandy in Oct. 2012. It looks like a giant bird nest. On either side there are little steps going up and inside, there’s an open area and a banquet bench along one side. I could tell that everyone loved it because there was a big smile on each face. I love that something wonderful got made from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. Yes, some magnificent trees went down, but they won’t be forgotten because they’ll remain in BBG in a different form.
150 Eastern Parkway
455 Flatbush Avenue
990 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11225
Generally closed on Mondays
Students with valid ID $5
Tuesdays are free and Saturdays between 10 am – 12 noon (except when there are special events) are free.
Before I took Freshman to the airport for her flight back home, we stopped off at Smorgasburg in DUMBO in Brooklyn (which stands for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Smorgasburg is an outdoor food fair that takes place every weekend (Saturday in Williamsburg and Sunday in DUMBO). There are several different vendors selling original local tasty food, such as lobster rolls, oysters on the half shell, rotis, Chinese noodles, vegan ice cream, fresh donuts, grilled cheese, popusas, and more.
The Smorgasburg in DUMBO takes place in a recovered warehouse. The walls remain standing, but there’s no roof and covers on the windows. I love its new use as an outdoor market. I used the arches to frame the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge. After you purchase your food, you can walk out and enjoy the sunshine and view by the water at Brooklyn Bridge Park. There are few picnic tables, but a vast majority of the people preferred to sit on the grass.
Smorgasburg in DUMBO
Tobacco Warehouse (30 Water St.)
Sundays 11 am – 6 pm (rain or shine)
Freshman enjoyed her spring NY trip and she’s already planning her summer visit here. I can’t wait to see her again.