The Bronx is really close to Greenwich. There are days where it could take you almost as long to get from Glenville to Old Greenwich as it would take to drive from Glenville to the Bronx. And there’s some cool stuff going on in the Bronx. One of our favorite combinations is the New York Botanical Garden followed by a meal on Arthur Avenue.
New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden is gorgeous. We’re members and we try to go year-round. For starters, the Botanical Garden has a really impressive and vast children’s area called the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. Its offerings change with the seasons but know that there is always an indoor play area where kids can interact with plant and gardened themed toys and puzzles, and take turns watering indoor tropical plants via spray bottle. Often, the NYBG will have booths set up with hands-on activities and guides teaching children. There are always musical displays and seasonal decorations in the gardens comprising Everett. My girls also love the outdoor playhouse and puppet theater.
We love coming in winter for the Model Train Show and in fall to spot all the Garden’s gorgeous pumpkin displays, but NYBG really shines in spring and summer. On a beautiful day, the grounds are breathtaking to visit. Throw your kids in a stroller and just enjoy the stunning surroundings. Oh and be prepared to fold that stroller up at some point to board the little train that transports guests around the gardens - every kid wants to do this.
Brand new for Summer 2018 is the Edible Academy - a three acre area dedicated to teaching the Garden’s littlest patrons about edible fruit and vegetable gardening. The highlight of the Edible Academy is the Ruth Rea Howell Vegetable Garden, where children of all ages (including adult ages) can roll up their sleeves and get down and dirty with the gardening process. Interactive family programming will be going on all summer and fall in the Academy. We have our eye on the “Dig! Plant! Grow! Pickle Me” sessions starting in mid-July.
If that isn’t enough for you, through October 28th, the NYBG is featuring Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawaii in the Haupt Conservatory. Seventeen of O’Keeffe’s paintings will be featured alongside gorgeous flowers and plants native to Hawaii. A really cool way to view that exhibit is through the Aloha Nights events being offered on a handful of summer evenings. The Aloha Nights aim to further celebrate Hawaiian culture - there will be lei demonstrations and hula lessons, live music, food (poke!) and Hawaiian inspired beverages. Kids are welcome and the fun begins at the reasonably kid friendly hour of 6:30pm.
Mere minutes from the NYBG is the area in the Belmont Section of the Bronx known as Arthur Avenue, or as locals like to say “The Real Little Italy”.
It's so much fun to spend a Saturday afternoon (many of the markets are closed on Sundays) strolling the area, checking out the specialty food and supplies shops and settling down for a delicious late lunch. A rock star move is to first hit the streetside raw bar (yes, you heard that right) at Cosenza’s Fish Market for some fresh, raw clams and oysters to tide you over while you shop and stroll. The breads from Madonia Brothers Bakery and meats from Biancardi’s Meat Market are always great to take home. If you’re willing to wait a bit, also hit Casa Della Mozzarella on 187th for their famously delicious fresh mozz. A walk through the Arthur Avenue Retail Market and particularly, Mike’s Deli, in the back right corner is an absolute must. So is a stroll through Teitel Brothers for dry goods, olives, olive oils and cheeses. Oh and also save room for a fresh slice at Full Moon Pizzeria - it’s very good and the high turn over makes for consistently fresh pies.
Everyone has his or her favorite sit down spot on Arthur Avenue and while we enjoy several restaurants (Dominick’s, Roberto’s), our definitive #1 is Trattoria Tra Di Noi on 187th Street. Chef Marco cooks the kind of food that you wish your Italian grandmother cooked. Using fresh, top notch ingredients, Tra Di Noi dishes are deceptively simple feeling, incredibly rustic and delicious beyond a doubt. The “Specials” board at Tra Di Noi is truly special and should not be ignored. As for regular menu items, you also cannot miss. We love their Insalata di Casa, Fettuccine Carbonara and Veal Parmesan. Even the complementary roast potatoes and green veggie that comes with your entree is crazy good. While always reasonably casual, Tra Di Noi can get more adult and crowded at dinner time, so if you are bringing the kids along, consider lunch or a very early evening. This is a special place. We think about it often and try to get back almost as often.
Before you head home, take your kids to any bakery that you stumble into for a cannoli or rainbow cookie. A perfect family day!