Spring Awakening: A Visit To Snug Harbor In New York City

After a gruelingly long but otherwise uneventful winter, spring is finally in the air. Green shoots are muscling their way to the front row. Flowers are taking center stage. The hibernating inhabitants of the city are slowly emerging from their slumber, eager and ready to shed their winter layers and expend all that pent up energy. All the usual suspects come to mind: picnics in Central Park, visits to the Brooklyn Botanic and New York Botanical Gardens, and trips to Governors Island. Patio seats and access to rooftop bars become hot commodities. But we thought we’d offer another, oft-forgotten option to add to your list: Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in Staten Island.

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Scarecrows and Pumpkins at the New York Botanical Garden



In 2003, Lynn and I — as well as our motley crew of cats, Felix and Chloe — up and moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Scottsdale, Arizona on a whim. This radical decision was predicated upon a number of factors: we were incredibly weary of the long winters; we could no longer envision a future filled with opportunities in our professional lives; and there was a discernable feeling that we were in a rut, living out lives that seemed alarmingly predictable and comfortable given our relatively youthful ages. A malaise had set in, as well as a soul-crushing ennui. Something had to change. And so something did: we moved. Continue reading Scarecrows and Pumpkins at the New York Botanical Garden

Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden



If you took an Economics class in college, you might recall discussions around irrational behavior and speculation leading to market bubbles and crashes.  While the dot-com and real estate debacles might be fresher in our memory, one of my favorite examples of this was the boom and bust of tulips in the 1600s. Yes, tulips.  If you’re unfamiliar, the story goes that when the Dutch Republic gained independence from the Spanish crown in the 17th century, it ushered in a Golden Age with growing trade and commerce.  Fortunes flourished and estates grew, and soon the prized tulip — its bold colors unlike that of any other flower at the time — became a status symbol.  As demand multiplied, speculators were drawn to the quick profits and the prices ballooned.  At its height it was said that a single bulb was exchanged for 1000 pounds of cheese.  But in 1637, a default on a contract caused widespread panic and the tulip market abruptly crashed. Continue reading Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden