Wave Hill | Renowned Botanical Garden & Cultural Center

by NYJ Team

Wave Hill is a renowned botanical garden and cultural center nestled in the Bronx suburb of Riverdale. Once a private estate, it features 28 lush acres dotted with majestic trees and spectacular views of the Hudson River and the Palisades.

19th Century Mansion Becomes a Gift to the City

In the 1800’s, many wealthy Manhattanites built their country homes in this picturesque area of the Bronx, drawn by the beauty of the Hudson River highlands and the stunning vistas of steep cliffs across the river known as the Palisades. In 1843, jurist William Lewis Morris built Wave Hill House as his summer home. It was expanded further by later owners which included publishing magnate William Henry Appleton and J.P. Morgan partner George W. Perkins, who added greenhouses, a swimming pool and the facility which now serves as the Ecology Building. Perkins also bought the adjacent property and called it Glyndor House. It is now Wave Hill’s cultural center, featuring an art gallery and hosting educational programs.

Wave Hill Garden & Cultural Center

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Over the years, the estate was enriched with the goal of maximizing the beautiful views. The gardens were carefully cultivated and rare trees were added to the landscape. Perkins’ daughter Dorothy and her husband Edward W. Freeman renovated Wave Hill House in 1933, and the Perkins-Freeman family gifted the estate to the City of New York in 1960.

The Gardens at Wave Hill House

Wave Hill is a slice of heaven for garden lovers and nature enthusiasts. It features 28 acres of woodland, carefully planted gardens and grounds dotted with benches perfect for sitting and admiring the surrounding beauty. Numerous specimens of trees including sugar maples, dove trees and bigleaf magnolia provide a majestic backdrop for the varied gardens that are planted throughout the year.

Highlights of this remarkable property include the Flower Garden, which showcases a stunning selection of plantings including new and vintage perennials, exotic flowers and annuals that burst with color.

Delicate plants from around the globe thrive all year round in the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory. Named for the estate’s founding horticulture director, the Conservatory is comprised of three glass houses: the Palm House with exotic plants such as bright South African bulbs, the Tropical House featuring plants from humid regions and the Cacti and Succulent House which is home to plants that come from areas in the world with little rainfall.

Inspired by the wild garden planted by notable 19th century garden designer and Irish writer William Robinson, the Wild Garden at Wave Hill boasts a selection of wild species from around the world. Visitors will be delighted by the vistas from this area of the estate as well as the gazebo which dates back to the early 1900s.

Famous Lodgers

The 16th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, was just 12 years old when his family first rented Wave Hill in the summer of 1870. The family was taken with the beauty of the home and they spent the summer of 1871 at the sprawling estate as well.

From 1901 to 1903, celebrated American author Samuel Clemens, more commonly known as Mark Twain, leased Wave Hill. Author what is often referred to as the “Great American Novel” Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain was taken with the beauty of the grounds and constructed a treehouse in the branches of one of the great chestnuts on the lawn. Other illustrious tenants included renowned conductor Arturo Toscanini who leased the house from 1942 to 1945, as well as two British UN delegates.

Weddings and Special Events at Wave Hill

It isn’t surprising that such a picture-perfect venue is a popular choice for those planning a wedding in New York City! Wave Hill offers indoor and outdoor venues for weddings all year round with special event planners available on-site to assist with menu and party planning.

Corporate conferences can also be accommodated at Wave Hill, and the grounds can be booked for commercial or private photo shoots.

Visiting Wave Hill in the Bronx

The front gate of Wave Hill is located at West 249th Street and Independence Avenue. The estate is approximately 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan.

Location: West 249th Street
Phone: 718-549-3200
E-mail: information@wavehill.org

Click to visit Wave Hill official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.

Socrates Sculpture Park | A Unique Open-Air Gallery

by NYJ Team

Unlike the MET, you are encouraged to touch the art at the Socrates Sculpture Park. Located in Long Island City, this outdoor sculpture gallery features an expanse of green space scattered with large-scale art installations.

The Socrates Sculpture Park was an abandoned landfill until the late eighties when it was transformed by a group of community members and artists into the unique open-air gallery it is today. The park also offers many free public programs including outdoor movie nights and art classes.

With its spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline across the East River, the Socrates Sculpture Park is also a great place to simply walk your dog or stroll with your family along the waterfront.

Socrates Sculpture Park

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Art at the Socrates Sculpture Park

The installations at the Socrates Sculpture Park change frequently so no two visits are alike. Typically the park features a collection of contemporary large-scale art and multi-media exhibits. These one-of-a-kind pieces are often interactive, offering visitors a different way to experience art and creating a more accessible environment than at a traditional art gallery.

The Socrates Sculpture Park features an outdoor studio and resident artists who receive grants to develop and display their work onsite, allowing visitors to see sculptures in different phases of development.

Special Events and Activities

The Socrates Sculpture Park is known not only for its eclectic collection of artwork but also for the broad range of free events and activities available throughout the summer season.

The park’s popular outdoor cinema series showcases international films throughout the summer. Moviegoers can spread out a blanket on the grass as the sun sets and enjoy a movie from a different country each week.

Socrates Sculpture Park also presents a schedule of free concerts, plays and performances such as Shakespeare in the Park. There are also art workshops for both kids and adults offered free of charge as well as fun activities such as free kayaking excursions and the free “Kite Flight” where kids learn to build their own kite from recycled materials, and then fly it in the park.

Free Fitness Programs

Yoga and Tai Chi lovers will appreciate the free classes offered at the Socrates Sculpture Park, especially as the classes are held by the park’s picturesque waterfront. The beautiful views of Roosevelt Island and Manhattan’s Upper East Side provide a peaceful, Zen-like setting for relaxation and meditation.

In addition to free yoga and Tai Chi classes, you can also take part in free Pilates classes and Capoeira classes, the Afro-Brazilian martial art which integrates self-defense and dance movements. The fitness classes at Socrates Sculpture Park are suitable for all levels of experience.

Markets in the Park

Each summer Socrates Sculpture Park is home to a Greenmarket Farmers Market where local farmers gather to sell their farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. The park also features a Makers Market where artisans offer handmade items including jewelry, furniture and ceramics.

Visiting the Socrates Sculpture Park in New York

The Socrates Sculpture Park is located in Long Island City, Queens, New York at the intersection of Broadway and Vernon Boulevard across from the Noguchi Museum.

The park is open year round and admission is free. For hours of operation or more information on the programs, classes and current exhibition schedule call 718-956-1819 or visit Socrates Sculpture Park official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with official website.

Union Square Park | Historic, Vibrant and… a Foodie Destination

by NYJ Team

This vibrant and historic urban park is the perfect place to people watch in New York City. Located at the intersection of Broadway and 4th Avenue, Union Square Park was the site of the first Labour Day parade in 1882. It also houses the flagship location of the popular Greenmarket Farmers Market, a state-of-the-art children’s playground and a majestic bronze sculpture of George Washington.

Union Square Park

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Things to Do at Union Square Park

From art vendors to street entertainers to the occasional protest, there are plenty of interesting things to do and see in Union Square Park. Friends can congregate by the James Fountain and kids can play at the 15,000 square-foot playground which features a mini-mountain and rubber-tiled floor to protect little knees from scrapes.

Union Square Park is a popular destination for foodies- it is home to the flagship location of the world-famous Greenmarket Farmers Market. Situated at the north end of the park, the Union Square Greenmarket attracts thousands of visitors all year round eager to shop for fresh, locally grown produce, heritage meats and artisan breads and cheeses.

Union Square Park is also a perfect place to relax and do nothing at all. There are lots of benches to perch and people watch or grassy spots to spread out a blanket and enjoy a picnic lunch.

A Historic Public Space

Union Square Park opened in 1839 and quickly became a bustling town square and one of New York’s most popular public spaces to meet. Centrally located in Manhattan, Union Square was named for its location at the “union” of Bloomingdale and Bowery Roads which is known today as Broadway and 4th Avenue.

Union Square has a history of being a hub of political and social activism and was the site of many workers’ rallies in the 1930’s. It has served as a place for people to gather for political demonstrations, labor protests and community events.

A crowd of 10,000 workers gathered in Union Square for the first Labor Day parade on September 5th, 1882. Labor Day became a national holiday in 1884 and Union Square’s role in American labor history led to its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1997.

Statues in Union Square Park

Union Square Park is one of the most popular places for New York City locals to meet up at and one of the highlights of the park is its collection of majestic statues. They not only honor important historical figures, but they also are a great way to find someone – “meet me by Abraham Lincoln!” In addition to a statue of America’s 16th president, Union Square Park features sculptures of the Marquis de Lafayette (created by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty) and Mohandas Gandhi.

Visitors should be sure to seek out the spectacular equestrian statue of the first president of the United States, George Washington. Located at the south end of the park, this bronze work is the oldest sculpture in the New York City Parks collection.

Where Is Union Square Park in New York City?

Union Square Park runs from East 14th Street to East 17th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway.

For more information on Union Square Park including maps of the area and directions call 212-New-York or visit Union Square Park official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with official website.