|The Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx–via NY Botanical Garden|
March 20th may have marked the first official day of spring, but with temperatures still hovering in the high forties and low fifties, we have yet to see warmer, sunnier weather here in New York City. Not to mention the past six months –– which have been rough and enduring for New Yorkers –– especially with natural shockers like Hurricane Sandy and Nor’easter Nemo trashing our houses and taking down our public transit system. As soon as the ground thaws and the flowers bloom, I bet many folks will emerge from hibernation and reclaim their city. For my boyfriend and I, we plan to visit the “Boogie Down” Bronx.
An oft-overlooked borough with plenty of commercial appeal and local charm, head to the Bronx now through April 22 to check out the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden. In its breathtaking 11th year, the show gives you a unique close-up of thousands of orchids, the largest exhibit of its kind in the US.Stop by the gift shop on your way out to take home a low-maintenance variety of your very own. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors/students, and $10 for children. Youngsters under age two get in free. Take the whole family early in the day, or make it a romantic date in the evening and enjoy a cocktail as you take in the array of sizes, colors, and species during “Orchid Evenings” while DJ Julio spins electronic tunes.
|One of the many orchids at the Orchid Show-via NY Botanical Garden|
If you’re looking to learn more about plants and flowers, the NYBG offers more than 850 courses in gardening, landscape design, floral design, and more. For the amateur to the seasoned gardener, the Garden offers classes at all levels.
“The New York Botanical Garden makes you appreciate the natural beauty of life through the flowers and its amazing gardens found in the Bronx. It’s a very unique and inspiring place filled with colorful art — it will fill your senses,” said Alexandra Maruri of MCNY Tours, Bronxite and owner of this local touring company specializing in historical tours of the borough. A destination for all ages, this Bronx treasure is a must at any time of the year, but especially with the lush, green foliage in the warmer months during wedding season.
|Colorful orchids at the Orchid Show— by Shannon Lee Gilstad|
Maruri will take you on a customized tour tailored to your group or special occasion. Lace up your sneakers and hoof it on a three-hour Grand Concourse Walking Tour, or choose from a history and food tour by bus to either the real Little Italy or Little Ireland.
If you’re a culinary buff, test your palate with a wine and cheese tour of Little Italy at an exclusive, authentic Italian restaurant on Arthur Avenue. This famed, longstanding strip in the heart of the Bronx’s Italian-American district has plenty of authentic markets, bakeries and butcher shops. Indulge in a loaf of fresh-baked semolina bread paired with Sicilian olive oil straight from Arthur Avenue.
Another outdoorsy option in this borough is the Bronx Zoo. I remember going to the Zoo when I was younger, and I loved looking at the giraffes and jungle cats. The gorillas are always entertaining and will look right into your eyes if you allow them. My boyfriend and I hope to go back soon, before the heat spikes in true New York summer fashion.
|Thanks for visiting the Bronx Zoo!––by Nick Harris via Flickr|
Open 10-5 weekdays and 10-5:30 on weekends, the Zoo covers 265 acres and showcases some 4,000 animals from about 650 different species. Admission is $16.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors and $11.95 for children. Youngsters under age two get in free. On Wednesdays, you can bypass ticket prices and
make a suggested donation instead. Just be aware that this deal attracts plenty of school and camp groups, as well as large families.
A bit farther off the beaten path, head to an old New York community where plenty of seashore citizens still make their living as fishermen and restaurateurs. Try out one of the authentic pasta dishes at Portofino in City Island, or the selection of fresh-caught fish like clams, cod, and lobster.
Visit during summer to check out local street fairs, or discover their museum or bird watchers’ community. You can even charter a yacht or take sailing lessons. My boyfriend may just have to rent a car (much easier than taking the trip by subway and then bus transfer) and make a day of enjoying City Island’s sun, seafood and surf, all without leaving New York City.