Welcome to the latest installment of Hot Date, wherein writer Chelsey Duckworth comes up with a creative, not overly expensive date to go on with her boyfriend “M.” Got suggestions? Leave them in the comments.
Finally, it is spring with the cherry trees blooming and petals scattering the sidewalk. Even the rain smells different. Time to bask in the beauty and nature that even a city like New York offers.
A few Saturdays ago, M and I clambered up the steps of the 2/3 Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum subway station, crossed the street and entered Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Standard admittance is $10 ($5 for students), but it’s absolutely FREE on Tuesdays. The gardens are sprawling and even the areas that haven’t begun to bloom are mesmerizing. However, to get your flowers-blooming, birds-singing fix I highly recommend the following route: Head first toward the Japanese Pond and Garden. Dotted around the pond are the blooming Cherry trees drooping their branches into the water and changing it from murky green to speckled white and pink. M and I spotted a bevy of Koi fish, a dover of ducks (that’s right, I looked it up) and even a lone turtle.
Next, we headed to the Shakespeare Garden where there is a superb variety of flowers blossoming and a number of sweet, red robbins enjoying the array. M and I challenged each other to see if we could find a flower and name its play (this wasn’t a particularly successful game, but still very fun). A small stone path away lies Magnolia Plaza. Because the Magnolia is an early bloomer the whole plaza was blanketed in fallen petals–it was stunning. Eventually, M and I got a little chilly (it’s still early Spring) so we headed inside the Conservatory. This was M’s very, very favorite. They have three different pavilions: Desert, Tropical and Warm Temperature. Enter different climates and let your senses be surrounded. Our favorite was the Tropical Pavillion; you are literally dropped into the canopy of the rainforests surrounded by palm trees and cacao fruit and even the moist, humid air. Back outside, M and I checked out the Patrick Dougherty installation. Imagine a handful of giant bird’s nests that you can walk in and out of. Of course, these looming cocoons are perfect for a cheeky game of hide-and-go-seek/tag (M won). The Gardens go on and on and could keep you busy all day, but M and I had worked up quite an appetite. We skipped the Google Map directions and took the shortcut through Prospect Park–it’s considerably quicker and much more beautiful. We headed to Sweet Melissa for an early lunch, and grabbed a salad and some savoury croissants, but this place really excels at sweet pastries (we picked up a few of those too). And its best attribute has got to be the backyard. Filled with flowers and twinkly lights, it is a Spring dream.
Just a couple blocks North of Sweet Melissa is Galaxy Comics and Collectibles. We stopped in and M satisfied his inner 12-year-old for a half an hour. For our final step into the Spring season, I took M to Ample Hills Creamery. We took our Salted Caramel Crack ice cream on our walk home and stopped into Natty Garden. The staff helped us choose some seeds and a Rosemary plant to take home and start working on our very own urban garden. Hello Spring, please stay a while.