If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas, you know that everything there is magnified and exaggerated by a factor of 1000, and it’s easy find yourself with whiplash from taking it all in. I have somewhat mixed feelings on the “More Is More” mantra, but one thing I remember being notably impressed with was the stunning ceiling of glass flowers in the Bellagio. I didn’t know it then, but that was my first experience with Dale Chihuly’s masterful craft.
If you happened to read our post on Chuck Close, you might notice some parallels here. We’re drawn to artists who aren’t just pioneers in their field, but who have also overcome diversity on their way there. Chihuly’s path wasn’t a straight one. He suffered the loss of a sibling and a parent early in life. And after he had cultivated a successful career in the art of glass sculpture, tragic accidents left him with one blind eye and a dislocated shoulder. As a result of the latter injury, Chihuly was unable to hold a glass blowing pipe. But he refused to stop creating, and assembled a team of glassblowers from around the world to execute his vision. Now he likens himself to the conductor of a symphony.
ICYMI – Shots from our Instagram Story on the day of our outing. There was also a duck video. Find us on Instagram so you don’t miss any more duck videos: @madhattersnyc
Like most artists, Chihuly is constantly extracting beauty from everything around him. The idea for one of his installations, Float Boat came to him on a trip to Finland when he was standing on a bridge over a river. He decided to throw glass spheres into the water to see which ones would shatter. When the pieces were retrieved and placed into skiffs, he was struck by the contrast of the contemporary glass forms against old wooden boats.
Memories of his mother’s garden have also been a great source of inspiration. It seems only fitting that his kaleidoscopic creations have found homes in many botanical gardens over his career. The current exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden isn’t his first, but is in fact a triumphant return after 11 years.
In an interview, Chihuly once stated that his motto is, “If big is good, bigger is better. If one is terrific, twelve is even better.” Like I said in the beginning, I’m not entirely sure that’s true. But if there were one artist who might convince me, it would be Chihuly.
The Chihuly exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden will run through October 29, so that it can be viewed as the seasons change here in New York City. Additional Chihuly programs will also run throughout the course of the event. Information can be found on the NYBG website here.
Tip: If you take the train from Grand Central it’s a short 20-25 minute ride. It drops you right in front of the Mosholu Gate entrance to the NYBG. On the weekends take advantage of the City Ticket, which offers a reduced rate.
2900 Southern Blvd
Tues -Sun: 10 a.m.–6 p.m
See website for exceptions
Pair it with:
A meal at Zucker’s
Taking the train from Grand Central is usually our preferred way to get to the New York Botanical Garden. While there are a number of options to meet any commuter’s needs in the terminal itself, another fantastic option lurks just around the corner. A skip, hop and a jump away you’ll find the Midtown branch of Zucker’s Bagels and Smoked Fish.
Zucker’s serves traditional New York style bagels — hand-rolled and kettle-boiled just as they are meant to be — with that crisp exterior and hefty, satisfying interior chew. Try any number of their bagel sandwiches, like the classic Zucker’s Traditional with Nova Scotia salmon, cream cheese, beefsteak tomatoes, red onion and capers.
Zucker’s also partners with many local vendors, from their produce to their pickles to their snacks and coffee. That means coffee lovers can get a La Colombe Draft Latte on tap here, and dessert lovers can top it all off with a Fat Witch brownie. (We are both.)
370 Lexington Ave
Mon – Fri: 6:30 am – 7:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 6:30 am – 6:00 pm