Around Town

A Visit to Wave Hill

Great Lawn and Pergola Overlook

As summer begins to wind down, I’m still trying to take advantage of the long daylight and experience the great outdoors on days that are not so warm. To that end, I finally made the journey up to Wave Hill. It’s not easy to get to, since it involves riding a train to the end of the line in the Bronx and then hopping on a shuttle van that takes visitors to the front gate.

Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory

Wave Hill is one of the lovely gardens I’ve been longing to check out for many years but it’s always been inconvenient (it still is) to get there. A friend and I were considering a visit by car but plans changed and I ended up going one Saturday morning by myself. There is free admission to Wave Hill on Tuesday and Saturday mornings; I was originally going to visit on a Tuesday since there would be less people but that day has fallen in the midst of heat waves every week so Saturday it was instead.

Aquatic Garden

With the weekend subway construction, it took me about an hour or so by train and then another 15-20 minutes for the shuttle (including the wait time). The minivan could only accommodate about a dozen people and there were nearly twice that number the morning of my visit (everyone was trying to take advantage of the free admission) so the driver had to make two trips. Luckily, I was in the first group.

Flowers and Pinecones

After passing the gate and parking lot, a path leads visitors right toward the Great Lawn and Pergola with beautiful views of the Hudson River beyond. It really is breathtaking and more beautiful than similar views I’ve seen at the Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park.

Woodland Trail

The gardens are actually smaller than I thought they would be. I think I managed to see all the major displays in an hour’s time, even when I lingered on some parts of the gardens over others. Out of all the lovely areas, I think my favorite was actually the less exciting woodlands. I just love being surrounded by the trees, which offered a brief respite from the sun. One could walk down quiet paths and hear nothing; it’s very much like walking through a forest. There weren’t many people on those trails and it was fun to be on roads less traveled; the only thing that wasn’t pleasant was the appearance of a rodent ahead of me on the path at one point… I ended up running as fast as I could past the area and did not like enjoying hearing the creature in the bushes nearby.

Pergola Overlook

But the lovely pergola and overlook was another highlight of my visit. I’ve seen photos of it for years and it was nice to actually walk through it and admire the beautiful flowers and plants that hung above or grew along the trellises. There are also Adirondack chairs scattered across the lawns for people to sit and enjoy the views. Most of these were occupied though I did manage to sit in one that was shaded by a tree near the Conservatory. It’s definitely relaxing.

View of the Hudson River

I didn’t stay too long because I had to wait for the shuttle to take me back to the subway station. The shuttle vans run only once per hour so I didn’t want to miss the next one. It’s only a few minutes ride between the gardens and the train station but it involves going up and down hills as well as crossing a busy highway; if the route was straighter, I wouldn’t have minded walking instead.