Since I'm forever seeking a partner-in-crime for my various escapades, I figured I'd take advantage of Edith's offer to take the day off from work in order to go on one of my infamous urban hikes. Accompanied by someone who'd appreciate it as much as I!
Like the New York Botanical Garden, Wave Hill is appealing because, although it's a public garden, it seems safe considering the required admission charge and the onsite security. Also like NYBG, as well as Van Cortlandt Park and Pelham Bay Park - two of the most satisfying urban hiking experiences thus far - it's located in topographically diverse and surprisingly woodsy Bronx. There's even a short woodland trail you can hike, mulchy underfoot, moderately thick canopy full of acorn-munching, berry-picking squirrels and throngs of shelter-seeking finches, blue jays, and redwinged birds.
Outside of the woodland trail, there are more formal gardens of perennials, wildflowers and herbs: from dahlias, lilies, and lavender to lemon verbena, peppers, and even wormwood. And plenty of pollinating bees, still at work.
Like the day before, the sky was mottled in shades of gray, dark gray, nearly black and nearly white - all reflected in the lilypad-laden pond whose sign asked for us not to feed the fish.
I found the most common subjects of my gaze - and photography - the wilting petals of summer season flowers still trying to hold on, reaching high up to the sun but losing their vibrancy one by one. Their decay reminded me of the many abandoned buildings in which I have sought shelter, struggling to stand up and retain some semblance of usefulness. Beautiful in what life is left in them. But soon just a shell of their former selves.
Wave Hill's lofty location on, appropriately, a hill gives a nice overlook of the George Washington Bridge and the New Jersey Palisades across the Hudson River. Located at the end of a winding street lined with ancient stone retaining walls and gnarled tree branches, it's hard to remember you're in the Bronx at all, until you hear the distant moan of a passing Metro-North train (nearest station is Riverdale) and the meowing of schoolchildren somewhere beyond the forest.
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