My leisurely Sunday afternoon begins with lunch in The Bar Room of The Modern with my cousin Ed, who is in New York on business. From the tasting menu, we choose two of my favorites- veal and lamb. Our light repast includes the warm veal and goat cheese terrine with watercress, a fresh grilled shrimp with green cabbage and gruyere salad and a roasted opal lamb chop, served with artichokes, manchego and extra virgin olive oil.
I enter the Garden through the Vanderbilt Gate at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street. Installed in 1939, it originally served as the entrance to the Vanderbilt Mansion at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street (at the present site of the Bergdorf Goodman department store) until its demolition in 1927.
The Conservatory Garden gets its name from the huge glass conservatory that once stood on the same spot, built in 1898. Many of the first shrubs and trees that were later planted in the park were first cultivated in this conservatory by Ignaz Pilat, the head gardener of the new park. In 1934, maintenance of the facility became prohibitive, so it was torn down and replaced with the present garden that we enjoy today.
The Garden is divided into three distinct sections, the north (French Garden), the Central (Italian Garden) and the south (English Garden). Today, it is the southern garden, which features the English style, which is bloom and it is where I spend the rest of the afternoon.
Planted to be enjoyed the year round, I overhear from others in Garden, “What a little sunshine can do,” since the saucer magnolias, ballerina tulips, grape hyacinth and the stunning array of narcissus are basking in the glow. As am I.
The Conservatory Garden in Central Park is located at 5th Ave and 105th St. Free tours start at the front gate Saturday at 11 a.m., April – October.
Click on the arrow below to see what’s in bloom at the Conservatory Garden
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