Wild green Bronx
The Bronx is blooming - and bursting with gardens, birds, and parks.
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The Bronx River Alliance, which is restoring the waterway, hosts events and paddling on the river; http://www.bronxriver.org.Skip to next paragraph
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If you want lions and tigers too, the zoo is open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (5:30 p.m. on weekends); http://www.bronxzoo.com.
North of the zoo is the New York Botanical Garden, a National Historic Landmark that dates to 1891, http://www.nybg.org, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
A tram takes you around the garden’s 250 acres, which include a children’s garden, forest, rock garden, and a Victorian-style glass conservatory.
The vast rose garden’s 3,000 plants include varieties that bloom continuously spring to fall. An outdoor exhibit of 20 Henry Moore sculptures is up through Nov. 2.
Yves Soulier, a tourist from France, visited the garden recently with his wife, Anne. He said the Bronx had a reputation as “a hard banlieue,” using the French term for the outskirts of a city. “I have read this in the books,” he added. “But we like the flowers and plants here.”
In the northwest Bronx is Wave Hill, with a dozen themed gardens, panoramic views of the Hudson River and princely frogs in a lily pond. It’s open Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; http://www.wavehill.org.
A photo exhibit opens Sept. 9 called “Surprisingly Natural: the Nature of the Bronx.”
Hawks and eagles are often spotted during the garden’s bird walks, which resume in the fall.
The Bronx is home to two large parks, Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay. Both have golf courses, horseback riding, and historic house museums: Pelham’s Bartow-Pell Mansion, and the Van Cortlandt House, built in 1748 and the Bronx’s oldest building.
Jack Rothman leads free birding tours around Pelham Bay Park and in the City Island area. His website lists bird-watching expeditions around the city, and includes a section called, “What does a guy from the Bronx know about birds?”
Turns out he knows plenty. “You hear the birds before you see them,” he said, pausing to listen to a concert of bird songs, trills and whistles along a wooded path in Pelham Bay Park.
Over the course of an hour, a shushing sound he made, known among birders as “pishing,” coaxed into view a yellow-throated warbler, a red-winged blackbird, an Eastern towhee, a willow flycatcher, and an orchard oriole.
Under a rusty bridge, he pointed out swallows nesting, and in the marshes, egrets fishing. “It’s hard to believe this is the Bronx,” he said.