Chihuly Nights Show at New York Botanical Garden

Chihuly Nights Show at New York Botanical Garden

The first day of our anniversary celebration weekend was taken up with an evening visit to the New York Botanical Garden, to see the first exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s glass extravaganza in ten years.  We thought it would be especially fun to attend one of the Chihuly Nights, the after-dark show where all the glass is lit up.  And wow, was it ever fantastic!

Metro North Track at Grand Central

If you are going to the Botanical Garden from Manhattan, I recommend taking the Metro North from Grand Central Station.  It lets you off literally across the street from the entrances to the gardens.  There is a subway stop that supposedly goes to the gardens, but after you leave the train, you have to walk about a mile to get to the gardens.  No bueno.

Sapphire Star

The first Chihuly we encountered after entering the park was the brilliant Sapphire Star.  As you can see, the sun had not yet set – but that didn’t really matter – it is so brilliant that even in the late afternoon sun, it still sparkled.

Red Reeds on Logs

We headed to the visitor center to have a bite to eat (killing time while we waited for it to get dark), and along the way, we encountered the Red Reeds on Logs.  We would pass by these again after dark (stay tuned).

Alice Farley Dance Theater

Just past the Red Reeds, we encountered some of the evening’s entertainment, the Alice Farley Dance Theater – two costumed dancers walking on stilts and generally perplexing and delighting everyone nearby.

At the visitors center, three of Chihuly’s works, the Chandeliers, were positioned overhead.  I love these kinds of pieces – they look like rainbow candy and flowers and some sort of snakes all at the same time.

The food available was the one disappointment of the event.  I had a hot dog and Therese waited in a very long line to get a couple of tacos that were ok.  Actually there were long lines to get anything, and early in the evening, many of the things listed on the menus were already sold out – but you didn’t know that until you got to the cashier to place your order.  Poorly planned.

The Mandingo Ambassadors

Luckily, while you were waiting in line to order your food, the Mandingo Ambassadors were playing nearby, entertaining the crowd with their energetic African-tinged jazz.

Red Reeds on Logs at Night

By the time we finished eating, darkness had begun to fall.  As you can see, the Red Reeds were much more magical after dark.  We passed by them on our way to the Float Boat.  This boat full of colorful huge glass balls was part of the exhibit ten years ago, but then it was on display near the conservatory.  This time it had a lake and section of the park pretty much all to itself.  Definitely one of the highlights of the collection for me.

After the Float Boat, we headed to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, which is the heart of the garden, and the center of the greatest number of pieces in this exhibit.

Out in front of the conservatory, it all started in splendid fashion with the Citron Sun.  Wow!

Just inside the conservatory lay the Persian Pond and Fiori.  The blue and white ‘fiori’ reminded me so much of flamingos.

Next were the White Belugas, which reminded me of large Japanese daikon radishes.

White Belugas

A whole room of the conservatory was dedicated to the Macchia Forest.  I would love to have one of these incredible ‘macchia’ (shrubs) to put on a coffee table.  Not that I could afford it…

From there we stepped into the courtyard-like outdoor area near the conservatory.  Here were several incredible pieces.  First was the Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower.

Next was another highlight of the exhibit for me, the Neon 206.  It was next to one of the conservatory buildings and a lake, so its many colors were reflected in the lake, where some ducks were swimming.

Back inside the conservastory, in the next building we encountered the White Tower, to me a more subtle (or humble) relative to the spectacular Yellow and Scarlet tower.

White Tower

Finally, there was another long slender building with ‘Fiori’ (flowers) along each side of its walkway.  These were not my favorite pieces, but I do admit that they are probably the most successful in terms of blending in with the conservatory’s plants.

We loved the conservatory so much that we went through its buildings a second time.  I had to pause and take another long look at the Neon 206 one more time.  We left the Botanical Gardens that evening with our minds ablaze, so thankful to have once again experienced Mr. Chihuly’s artistry in the incomparable setting of the gardens!

Neon 206 Reflected in the Windows of the Conservatory

About Karl Peterson

Karl Peterson is an avid traveler, passionate about food and food-related entertainment, completely allergic to dairy. He is founder, owner and principle contributor to "The Dairy Free Traveler" blog. The Dairy Free Traveler perfectly dovetails two of his greatest areas of interest: traveling near and far, and searching for great cuisine (especially dairy free!) The Dairy Free Traveler publishes original material about the dairy free lifestyle, eating the best food in the most interesting destinations around the world. Karl's tours take him from thriving New York City, to exotic Marrakesh, to elegant Paris bistros -- (yes! even Parisians have gotten on the dairy free bandwagon.) The Dairy Free Traveler himself also engages with independent dairy free food producers, highlighting new dairy free product launches and events that support dairy free entrepreneurs. Peterson is among the top 7 most widely read TripAdvisor reviewers in New York City and is repeatedly cited as a Top Contributor at His reviews have garnered more than 542,000 readers -- half in the U.S., and half among the many countries he has visited around the world. Beyond writing this blog, Peterson is a published author, with contributions to "Savoring Gotham" edited by Andrew F. Smith (published 2015 by Oxford University) and the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Cheese (a bit ironic, yes, but a professional is often asked to stretch beyond their comfort zone!).
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