By Dru Peters
Need a great reason to head for New York City this summer? We’ve got a wonderful excuse to hop in the car for a cross-country road trip or go the easy route and jump on a plane to the Big Apple, for the eye-popping Dale Chihuly glass sculpture exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx opens to the public on April 22, 2017. “Chihuly” will be on display for the whole spring and summer and actually kicks off a season of many special events at that massive garden located in the Bronx, including concerts, nighttime light shows and plenty of children’s events.
Featuring more than 20 exhibits of Chihuly’s works, the collaboration between the New York Botanical Gardens (NYBG), Bank of America and the Chihuly studio covers the arc of the artist’s life, including many current-day pieces as well as some dating from the very beginning of his career.
With time spent in art-glass production studios around the world, Chihuly brings a vision of exuberance, vivid color and fun to the majestic settings of the NYBG. The pieces are installed everywhere, including in fountains, native gardens, reflecting pools, arboretums, ponds and greenhouses. An app allows visitors to receive directions to and enhanced information on each of the Chihuly pieces on display.
“We are all about glass here,” explained Greg Long, CEO and president of the New York Botanical Gardens, during an early viewing of the show. As we made our way around the 250 acres by foot and by tram, this became obvious. From the colorful chandeliers that greet visitors at the NYBG entrance to the largest Victorian greenhouse in the United States, glass abounds in the gardens even without the Chihuly additions. Venturing further into the gardens, the specimen trees (some planted well over 100 years ago) at the garden are abundant and create an amazing canopy of tall shade in the areas not under glass. And with the addition of the colorful, angular pieces of Chihuly work, there are plenty of fun surprises as corners are turned and nooks and crannies discovered.
The exhibit runs until the weather turns cold this fall, closing on October 29. On our visit, the Japanese cherry trees, the trillium and the daffodils were in bloom. Next month a long walkway of many varieties of peonies will be in bloom. As the summer progresses more plants will flower, produce shade, scents and visual delights.
The New York Botanical Garden offers annual family passes. For locals, it’s a great idea to become a member and visit often, to enjoy the seasonal changes in the garden and also receive discounts on the additional events offered this summer in conjunction with the Chihuly glass installation. Nighttime events are on the schedule, and in hot summer months an escape to this oasis sounds like a fantastic getaway.
In the greenhouses, hot and steamy on a cool spring day, the collaboration of the two entities – glass and plants – is at its best. New cultivars of plants allow the design to compliment and enhance the glasswork in several settings. The coordination of the colors of the plant selections truly heightens the wondrous beauty of the glass-sculpture installations.
The New York Botanical Garden has a lovely café with salads, soups, flatbreads and a coffee bar. Modern bathrooms are available at the main gate. A spacious gift shop with many tempting offerings is in the same area with the bathrooms and café.
The train trip from New York City’s Grand Central Station to the New York Botanical Garden is easy. And The Grand Hyatt Hotel, which located right in Grand Central Station, is offering a package combining hotel stay, train ride and entrance fee to the garden. For the out-of-town traveler, this is the most convenient route to take to the NYBG. No matter the time of arrival or departure, the ability to travel to a hotel room in the same block as the train will be welcome after a long day on foot, train and tram!
And whether you go for a single getaway weekend to the city or can buy a season pass and enjoy multiple visits over the summer, visiting the New York Botanical Garden and the Chihuly exhibit is bound to be a truly wonderful memory of 2017 in the Big Apple.