Monday, February 21, 2011

A "Winter" Weekday at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Roar! The weather was so nice last week that I just had to get out there and enjoy it while it lasted! So I decided to head over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where during the winter they offer free admission on weekdays! Unfortunately not everything in the garden is open during the winter but it's still fun to go and wander around the grounds.
Here I am outside of the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden. Even most of the snow has melted in the rest of the city there is still quite a bit on the ground here! It makes for a lovely winter scene. Maybe I'll write a haiku about my visit here!

The Winter's frost thaws
Dinosaurs come out to play
With the Spring comes green!
After leaving the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden I passed all this great looking Bamboo! I'll have to tell Bao Bao about this place! Roar!
Here are just a couple of the gorgeous trees growing at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden! I wish I knew more about botany so I could talk about this specific species, but since I can't I guess everyone will just have to go visit the garden for themselves! Roar!
In the Spring time the Cherry Walk and Esplanade is full of beautiful, blooming cherry trees! The BBG even has a big cherry blossom festival every year! Right now things are still looking a little barren... roar...
Here I am outside the Cranford Rose Garden which is closed for the winter. Roar! I love roses! I'll have to come back here for sure once they are all in bloom!
Behind me is more of the Cransford Rose Garden. Behind that, some of the more recent housing developments in Brooklyn can be seen looming on the horizon! It's nice to know that in a city that develops as rapidly as NYC there is a place like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where people can come and still learn about nature! Roar!
Here I am looking in on the Native Flora garden which was also closed for the winter. It looks like a pretty cool place! And it has such a sweet gate! I definitely have to come visit here in the spring!
What's that strangely tasty looking palm tree-like plant behind me? Why actually that's yucca and I like to cook it! Roar!
Here I am over by the Rock Garden observing beauty on a small scale! I'm all about doing things on a small scale! Roar!
Here, the smokestack from the old Interboro Brewing Company can be seen rising up in the background. The Interboro Brewing Company was one many breweries that used to operate in NYC! The I.B.C. closed it's doors in the early 1920's after the prohibition act was passed. roar...
Because of the warm weather a bunch of the plants in the garden were starting to bloom! Here are some of the buds starting to form on some of the trees! I can't wait for spring! Roar!
While those plants are just starting to blooms some of the plants at the BBG have been blooming all year long! Hear I am outside of the greenhouse, let's go see what's inside!
Woah! Now I'm in a sweet tropical rainforest! I can't believe how different it is in here compared to outside! It's like being back in the cretaceous! Roar!
These are some coffee trees that are growing inside the greenhouse's tropical rainforest section! Those are some fresh coffee fruits hanging from the branches! I wonder if the garden dries the beans and makes their own coffee?
There was so much beautiful foliage inside the greenhouse! Way more than I can share on this blog. Check out the rest of my photos here. Roar!
Here I am in the greenhouses desert climate! Check out all these sweet looking cactus's! If they were any sweeter I might have to call this place a dessert! Roar!
This is a mesquite tree that is growing in the desert climate! It's a pretty awesome looking tree! Roar!
Next, I went over the to greenhouse temperate climate section. Here all of the flowers were in full bloom! Check out all these pretty flowers blossoming around me! Roar!
Here are some more of the gorgeous flowers blossoming in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens greenhouse!
This pretty flower is called a "Bird of Paradise." I'm not so sure if I see the resemblance! Roar!
Oh man! These myrtle oranges are absolutely delicious! I wish there guys grew on Myrtle Ave! Roar!
There was also this amazing Bonsai tree display inside the greenhouse! Like the Rock Garden, it focused on beauty on a small scale. A whole bunch on the trees were even blossoming! Here is a particularly nice looking tree! Roar!
Another awesome looking bonsai tree on display! I just love the shape of this one, it has so much movement! Rooooaaarr..... Woah! I almost fell down there!
I had a lot of fun in the greenhouse but it was getting late and I needed to head home. On the way out of the garden I passed by where the Brooklyn Museum butts up against the edge of the garden. In back on the museum there was this small scale version of the Statue of Liberty! It sure was weird seeing it from behind! I wonder if this must be what it's like to live in New Jersey? Roar!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Telling the Way at St. Ann's

Roar! This past weekend I went to see an amazing performance by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus over at St. Ann's Warehouse in DUMBO. It was called Tell the Way and was composed specifically for the chorus by Nico Muhly. Muhly (who has worked with both Bjork and Phillip Glass) is incredibly talented and I couldn't wait to hear what he's written for the choir!
Here I am In front of St. Ann's Warehouse. I've been to a couple of really cool events here in the past including a "suspense comedy with magic", and a puppet theater festival! Roar!
The performance also featured collaborations with folk musician Sam Amidon, guitarist Bryce Dressner, and vocalist Bishi! Everyone was really awesome and the music was absolutely fantastic. It's not often you get to hear some truly original pieces and Tell the Way had several of them! The real standout, though, was the Brooklyn Youth Chorus! I had no idea such a talented and professional group of young singers were performing in this Borough! I can't wait to see what they do next! Roar!
Here I am with chorus member Juliana LoPiccolo who I met after the performance. She is a really talented young lady who told me about all the fun they had working on the different pieces for Tell the Way! She's also takes her singing very professionally and told me some stories about being one of the chorus members in the live performance of the Lord of the Rings score at Radio City Music Hall! It was really cool to meet Juliana and know that there are such talented young people growing up here in Brooklyn! Roar!

The only downside to the performance of Tell the Way is it only played for three nights this past weekend! So even though I want to tell everyone I know to go see it, I can't. roar...  Juliana told me they were making a recording of it so hopefully it will be available sometime in the future and everyone will get to hear all the awesome music for themselves! Roar!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Leaving New York City?

Roar! Friday I did something I almost never do, I "left" New York City! NYC is such a great place I'll never understand why anyone would ever want to leave it. Luckily, for the trip I had in mind, all I had to do was was head over to the eastern shore of Manhattan...
Roar! Here I am outside of the United Nations headquarters over at the end of East 42nd street. The UN is considered to be international territory and once you go inside not only are you no longer in NYC, you're no longer in the United States! Last time I came by the UN I never went inside. I hope I don't need a passport to get in!
Outside the visitors center there is this wild piece of corporate art! I see a lot of these types of things around NYC. Personally, I would have gone with a Jeff Koons sculpture! Roar!
Here I am in the lobby of the United Nations visitors center. For some reason they had a sculpture of Sputnik hanging from the ceiling! I guess that's pretty neat! Roar!
The lobby also had this big exhibit on climate change and its effects on Antarctica. In the background there is a cast of sculpture of Poseidon on loan from Greece! I suppose that's pretty appropriate when you consider the threat of rising sea levels! Roar!
PENGUINS! I love penguins! They are such cool birds! The only thing better than pictures of penguins and real penguins! Maybe I should take a trip to the zoo sometime soon?
There were a lot of other neat things in the visitors center. Here are a bunch of cool portraits of past Secretary Generals.
And here is the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the United Nations. They sure do a lot of great work! Roar!
There was also this awesome rock sculpture called an inukshuk. They're made by the various different native peoples of the arctic region. They are commonly used as travel markers and can be found all over from Alaska to Greenland! I hope this guy brings me good luck on this journey I've made outside NYC! Roar!
This mosaic of a Dove of Peace was presented to the UN by Pope John Paul II during one of his visits. It was just hanging on the wall and all the tourists were just running their fingers over it! I think that is kind of weird! Roar!
There was also this guest book to sign. I left my mark underneath a note left by a Chinese visitor. They had written "Move the UN to China." I wonder what Bao Bao would think of that? Roar!
Next I went downstairs to visit the gift shop. There was a ton of nifty UN stuff to buy! Here I am trying on an official UN hat. I'm not quite sure how this hat is different from the lid I tried on a while back. Roar!
Strangely, there were also all these bears waiting around for people to come give them a good home! I thought this was the gift shop not an adoption agency?! Roar!
Finally I went over to the UN post office! This is the real reason I left New York. I think stamps are really cool and since the UN is international territory it has its own post office and stamps! Time to mail some letters!
Here are some postcards I wrote out to a few of my fans! If you also want to get some sweet postcards from me you can join the TREXNYC mailing list by sending me an email with your address! Roar!
Time to send those postcards on their way! Keep an eye on your mailbox everyone! You might be getting some sweet mail from a dinosaur! Roar!
I had a lot of fun at the UN. When I was leaving I noticed this tiny island in the East River. It turns out that's Belmont Island, an island formed by fill from the old Steinway trolly tunnels that were dug over a century ago! The Island is now commonly known as U Thant Island, named after one of the former UN Secretary Generals. Apparently it's run by the parks department and protected as a bird sanctuary. I remember back in 2004 the island got a lot of attention when local artist Duke Riley rowed a boat out there and declared it a sovereign nation! I wonder what the UN thought of that! Roar!

Visiting the United Nations was a lot of fun and I got to see a lot of neat things! I guess this just goes to show that sometimes it's not a bad thing to leave New York City once in a while! Roar!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mott Haven, more like "Swap" Haven!

Roar! For the winter GrowNYC has organized a series of five swap-meets throughout the city, one for each borough. The first one was on Staten Island, the second one was in Inwood on Manhattan, and this past weekend they had the third one up in Mott Haven in the Bronx! I decided it would be fun to check out a new neighborhood and get some free stuff to boot!
Here I am outside GrowNYC's Stop n' Swap in Mott Haven! The swap was in the BronxWorks Community Center. It is a pretty neat looking place! I can't wait to get inside and check out the swap! Roar!
Woah! Just get a look at all the cool stuff down there! It's definitely time to start swapping! Roar!
There were lots of cool things at the swap, from various electronics to all types of clothes! Humans sure have a lot of things! I wonder what I'll find here?
I brought a bunch of old books to the swap but it looks like they already had plenty of those, just check out all these copies of Eragon! I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want that book, it has such cool dragons in it! Roar!
Mott Haven is a pretty cool neighborhood, too bad it was such a crummy day! I had wanted to explore the neighborhood a bit and visit some of the historical districts. Here I am outside of St. Ann's Park across from the swap. The park is named for St. Ann's Church, the oldest church in the Bronx, which is just a few blocks away. As for the rest of the historic districts, I hear they contain plenty of "handsome" brownstones! Roar!
I don't normally wear clothes but I got a couple shirts from the swap to stencil! I'll probably take these to another swap in the future to trade to people!
Look at all the sweet stuff I got from the swap! I got some science fiction books including works by Robert Anton Wilson, Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur C. Clarke, Isac Asimov, and even some of C.S. Lewis' rare space trilogy! I also picked up some comic books, some CD's (including one by Meredith Monk), and some old VHS copies of the Fleischer Superman cartoons and Death Race 2000! Talk about cool!
There was one really "Bronxy" thing I got at the Mott Haven swap! It was an underground hip hop cassette tape by Boiler which featured the tracks Superseed and Frontin'! Just listen to those sick beats! Roar!

I had a lot of fun at the swap in Mott Haven! It was great to give away some of my old stuff and get some sweet new stuff in return! There are still two more Stop n' Swaps coming up, one is in Jackson Heights on February 12th and the last one is in Fort Greene on the 26th. GrowNYC is a great organization and recycling old stuff is a great way to help keep New York my favorite color: Green! Roar!