The New York Botanical Gardens is a must visit for anyone who either lives in or finds themselves visiting the New York area. It’s one of those places that you can visit multiple times because the character of the gardens changes with the season and the exhibits. Which begs the question for me…Why did it take me 20 years of living here to get there?
Seriously, I had not been to the NYBG until last Christmas when I ventured there for the annual Holiday Train Show, a must visit event. This was followed by the Orchid Show, another must visit event. Recently, I got to see their wonderful new exhibit, Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawaii. And guess what, must visit event!
I was lucky to get to see the exhibit before it opened and being that Hawaii is one of my favorite places on earth, I jumped at the chance to go. Not only do you get to experience a lush flower show evoking the gardens and landscapes that inspired O’Keeffe, but you get to view the paintings that resulted from this inspiration.
New York Botanical Gardens Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawaii
Background & Exhibit Info
In 1939, O’Keeffe was commissioned by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company to produce two paintings for an ad campaign. She spent 9 weeks immersed in the Hawaiian culture and fell in love, especially with Maui and the Hana area. She was already quite famous at this time, known for her stark landscapes and desert flora of New Mexico.
Curated by Theresa Papanikolas, Ph.D., of the Honolulu Museum of Art, this landmark exhibition offers a rare focus on 20 of O’Keeffe’s depictions of Hawaii not seen together since their 1940 New York debut.
There are multiple special events going on this summer with the exhibit.
On Saturday nights in June, July, and August, you can enjoy an after-hours viewing of the exhibit in the Conservatory and Art Gallery. These festive summer evenings, Aloha Nights, come to life with live music and artisan demonstrations of kapa and lei-making as well as block printing. Experience illuminated installations by contemporary Hawaiian-Chinese sculptor Mark Chai and unwind with specialty cocktails and Hawaiian fare available from the Poke Truck.
On June 22, July 13, and July 27 you can enjoy their summer concert series, An American Tribute, with jazz artists. Bring a blanket, enjoy the concert, and stroll the exhibit before or after.
In addition, there are Celebrate Hawaii Weekends with special Hawaiian cultural performances, a Music Weekend, and Weekend Music, Dance, and Film. Adult Education classes and symposia will also be offered during the exhibit, including abstract photography and watercolor workshops. There’s even an Interactive Mobile Guide that transports the viewer both to the current landscape and back in time to the Hawaii O’Keeffe visited in 1939.
Check the website for all the details.
Before or after the show, you should stop in at the NYBG Shop. They offer a variety of live plants for purchase, including tons of orchids right now. In addition you’ll find gardening tools and accessories, botanical books, prints, jewelry, room decor, table items, unique gifts, and bath and body products.
The Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit is on from May 19 through October 28. It is open 10 am – 6 pm Tuesday – Sunday. The Aloha Nights are Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30 – 10:30 pm. The gallery closes at 9:30.
General admission ticket prices are different for weekdays and weekends; $23 and $28 for adults. The Aloha Nights are $38. Parking is $15 during the week and $20 on weekends.
If you want to grab a bite while you’re there, you have 3 options. There’s the more casual Pine Tree cafe, the Hudson Garden Grill, or the new Poke Truck. I ate at the Pine Tree and it’s cafeteria style with salads, pizza, and sandwiches.
I can, however, recommend heading on over to Arthur Avenue for some authentic Old World Italian food and shopping. It’s only about a 5 minute drive and well worth the trip. We ate at Mario’s and love the food, but more importantly, the atmosphere. Or try Ann & Tony’s.
The NYBG is located in the Bronx, across from Fordham University. If you live in NY, you can take the 20 minute train ride from Grand Central on Metro North or take the subway. Be sure to check out the website for detailed directions.
For anyone who lives in the area and might want to go back for multiple visits during the different seasons, getting a 100% tax deductible membership might be the way to go. Prices start at $85 for an individual membership. You get free admission for an entire year, guest passes, parking passes, and discounts at NYBG Shop and on education programs. There’s also exclusive Member programs, including invitations to special Members-Only Previews, trips, tours, and events. Plus, your Membership supports NYBG’s efforts in science, education, and horticulture which impact communities locally and around the world.
Visiting The Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit is a really nice way to spend several hours and you will be really amazed at the beauty and uniquenesss of the Botanical Gardens.
You can even enter their sweepstakes to win one of 3 Hawaii vacation packages from May to October.
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub and LifeDoneWell co-founders and contributes to multiple blogs. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include traveling, real food, the environment, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.