Archive for the ‘Bronx’ Category

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and Gardens

May 26, 2012

If you are a fan of Wave Hill in the Bronx, you will want to visit this mansion on the other side of the borough.  Similar to Wave Hill, you will find yourself at an estate surrounded by beautiful greenery and a coastline nearby.  The grounds are not as extensive at Bartow-Pell, but there is plenty of space for a nice picnic and you can enjoy the grounds for free.

Bartow-Pell Mansion

Bartow-Pell Mansion

Bartow-Pell Mansion

I highly recommend the guided tour of the mansion that takes place every 15 minutes past the hour from 12:15 to 3:15.  You really get a feel for how the upper crust lived in the 1800’s.   This mansion was built in 1790, and back in the day, its neighbors were other mansions.  All the other mansions were destroyed in the late 1800’s to make way for Pelham Bay Park, but the city kept this one and rented it out for several decades before turning it into a museum.

Bartow-Pell Mansion

Bartow-Pell Mansion

Bartow-Pell Mansion

Bartow-Pell Mansion

To the side of the mansion is the two-story carriage house that also contains a basement and its own cistern.
Bartow-Pell Mansion

Ideally, you will want to drive here, because the alternative is a subway ride and then a bus. Directions for car and public transportation can be found here.  The mansion is open on Wed, Sat, and Sun from 12pm to 4pm.  Some special events take place on these and other days.  There are trails nearby that will take you to the bay, but beware of poison ivy and bring insect repellent.

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Wave Hill

July 2, 2010

Unlike other public gardens in the city, Wave Hill can boast of having housed a good share of famous people since the late 1800’s.  Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and Arturo Toscanini once lived at Wave Hill House on separate occasions.  Thomas Huxley and Charles Darwin also came here to explore its natural beauty.  It doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that this place is perfect for relaxation and contemplation, with sweeping views of the Palisades and the Hudson River.  Over the years, the grounds were built up and reshaped to take advantage of the scenery. Today, it’s a stunning testament to centuries-old preservation.

You will want to explore several sights here.  As you enter, you will come upon the pergola overlook ahead of you. This area in particular is very popular for weddings.

Wave Hill

This is the view looking back at the pergola.  It’s pretty, but the better view is in the other direction.  There are many lawn chairs you can plop yourself down on.
Wave Hill

Wave Hill House is to your right down a short path.  Sometimes they host concerts inside, plus art and gardening workshops.
Wave Hill

If you’re feeling in need of cooling down, you may want to tackle one of the shady trails to the north of the House. They’re a bit rough in some places, so be careful with your footing.   If you persevere, you will be rewarded with a nice woodland gazebo.

Wave Hill

Moving south back towards the entrance, you will find several greenhouses.  This one, called Alpine House, looked intriguing with its large bonsai-like tree.

Wave Hill

Right outside the greenhouse is a varied collection of cacti that grow right on and between the rocks.

Wave Hill

Wave Hill

My favorite spot in this whole garden, however, is the aquatic garden bordered by shady pergolas on three sides.

Wave Hill

Wave Hill

Wave Hill

On the day I was there, I was lucky enough to find a big fat frog sitting on a lily pad and taking advantage of the shade.

Wave Hill

Wave Hill is located at West 249th Street and Independence Avenue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.  You can take the Metro-North to Riverdale Station or the A or 1 train to West 242nd St.  A free shuttle provides a pick up at both places.  Click here for the shuttle schedule and for directions by car.  The garden is open Tuesdays through Sundays and stays open from 9:00 to 5:30 during the warmer months and from 9:00 to 4:30 during the colder months.   Admission is $8 for adults, but the fee is waived if you go on Tuesdays or Saturdays before noon.

NY Botanical Garden

April 9, 2010

I would be remiss if I didn’t cover this garden as well after covering the one in Brooklyn.  Located in the Bronx, the NY Botanical Garden is about six times as large as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Among the well-manicured landscaping, it has sections dedicated to certain plants and flowers.  The glasshouse Conservatory on the grounds hosts changing exhibits and is a well-known choice for weddings.  The great thing about this garden is that it houses a 50-acre native (virgin) forest.  You can, and should, do an easy one-way hike through it using a map that you pick up at the entrance.  The hike takes about one and a half hours.  I wouldn’t even call it a hike.  It’s a stroll. 

The famous glasshouse with lily pond:

Manicured gardens

NY Botanical 025

NY Botanical 039

Although educational, sometimes the signage gets a little ridiculous.

NY Botanical 041

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses…

NY Botanical 047

…and maybe spot a frog before you leave.
NY Botanical 052

The NY Botanical Garden is located at Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road.  It is open every day except Monday, from 10am to 6pm.  There are exceptions on certain dates.  Admission is $6 for the grounds.  Rotating exhibits cost extra.  To get there by subway, take the B, D, or 4 train to Bedford Park Blvd Station.  From the station exit, take the Bx 26 bus east to the Garden’s Mosholu Gate entrance (or) walk eight blocks down the hill on Bedford Park Blvd to the end (approximately 20 minutes).  Turn left onto Kazimiroff Blvd and walk one block to Mosholu Gate entrance.  If you’re driving, parking is $12.