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.
This year’s Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden is called Orchidelirium and celebrates the plant’s similarly exciting history, starting with the Duke of Devonshire’s obsession that led him to create one of the largest known collections. In the 19th century the orchid became a symbol of power and wealth, creating a frenzy similar to that of Tulipomania, and orchid hunters searched far and wide for unique varieties.
As we admired the mesmerizing spider-like Bratonia and the opulent blue Vanda, it was easy to imagine an Indiana Jones of Orchids, deep in a rainforest after barely making his escape from a cannibalistic tribe, pursuing a rare specimen of this magnificent flower.
Orchidelirium will be on display through April 17. There are amazing varieties on view in awe-inducing shapes and colors. Let your imagination run wild in this tropical paradise.
Pair it with:
Lunch or dinner at Salvation Burger
As previously mentioned, the easiest way to get to and from NYBG is via the Metro-North Railroad from Grand Central Station. After you return from your Orchid Adventure, make a quick detour less than half a mile northeast to Salvation Burger in the Pod 51 hotel. It’s the latest offering from the April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman team, who also brought us the Breslin and the Spotted Pig. As the name suggests, burgers are front-and-center here, but you can also choose to indulge in a hot dog or fish sandwich if you so desire. And vegetarians rejoice: there is a veggie burger on the menu made with beets and rice vermicelli with an interesting, somewhat exotic flavor — it’s clearly not an afterthought meant to appease non-meat eaters. It’s fast food, elevated.
230 E 51st St
Kitchen is open from 12pm-4:30pm and 5:30pm-midnight