Sunday, April 25, 2010

New York's Secret Garden

One of NYC's best kept secrets is the Central Park Conservatory Gardens. Far from the tourist crushed regions of the 60s and 70s, or the kid-infested areas of the 80s and 90s, the Conservatory Gardens rest in a quiet stretch of Central Park where real New Yorkers roam. And it is the most stunning part of Central Park by far.

When you walk through the beautiful Vanderbilt Gate on 106th street and Fifth Avenue, you feel like you've instantly left NYC in the 21st century and gone back in time to 19h century Europe. The Conservatory Gardens is a stunningly beautiful collection of three distinct gardens based on Victorian-era designs: English, French and Italian. The Italian gardens is full of wisteria as well as a twelve-foot high jet fountain. The French garden is full of pansies, tulips, and boxwoods, as well as another fountain called The Three Dancing Maidens. The English garden is the one you enter through the Vanderbilt gates and has a huge lawn and planting beds, as well as the Burnett Fountain which is based on the story The Secret Garden. If you want more info on the plants and designs of these gardens, go here.

The really stunnin
g thing about these gardens is not just how gorgeous the plants and flowers are but how amazing well-designed they are. They really look like something out of the great palaces of Europe -- you'd be forgiving for thinking you were at Versailles or Windsor Castle. Walking through these stunning gardens, you almost feel like you're going to bump into Queen Victoria or Emperor Franz Joseph at any moment (and you'd want to apologize for walking there). You can tell that theses gardens were meticulously planned and lovingly constructed. The thought, care, and a generosity of spirit that brought them to life is probably the most beautiful thing about the Conservatory Gardens.

And the fact that these were built for us regular folks, not just the rich, brings a burst of joy to your heart just like one of the gardens' flowers bursting open in springtime.

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