Queens Botanical Garden
In Queens, peace = petals + greenery
When the crushing crowds of New York begin to overwhelm me and the pervasive odors and grit hanging over the city become too much, I find refuge in the nearest garden.
There, I find peace and quietude wandering past the shaded nooks, nosing through the herb garden and stopping to smell the lilacs.
In April and May, the cherry trees blossom. The daffodils bloom. The beds of tulips spring into bursts of color.
In the summer, the roses are a treat.
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Visiting the Queens Botanical Garden
UPDATE SPRING 2010: Good things don't seem to last. There is now an entrance fee charged at this garden. The following description was written before the change.
Admission to the garden is free, but despite that, it's still possible to find solitude there, particularly on some weekday mornings.
That's less the case on the first warm weekends of the season, when the lawn near the main entrance gate becomes a playground for families from the surrounding neighborhoods. Children chase each other in endless games of tag, while their elders snag seats on the benches.
Even when more crowded, though, fellow visitors to the garden tend to be kindred spirits. Like me, they're just seeking respite and a chance to revel in as much natural beauty as possible before the garden gates close for the day.
But be warned. Any illusion of perfect serenity in the garden has been shattered when I have attempted to savor a final, few moments in there just before closing. The afternoon light on the trees may be nearing a photogenic golden hue, but starting well ahead of the posted closing hour, the guards become loud, insistent and scowling as they herd lingerers to the exits gates. They are deaf to sweet talking. Best to just move along.
Despite a few sour endings to my visits, as I leave the garden and slowly find my way back to a grimy subway entrance, more often than not, I’m already eager to return.
Funny. The gems in this big city have a way of shining all the brighter against the rough and tumble world all around them.
For more information
- Queens Botanical Garden
Official garden Web site, with hours and special events listed.