Have you ever dreamed of paddling down the Bronx River, New York City’s only freshwater river? Then come out this Saturday, May 11th and support the Bronx River Alliance at the new Starlight Park! There will be festival fun, canoe rides and all proceeds go to the on-water programming to over 1,000 children and families this season! The Bronx River Alliance is one of the Garden’s vital partners in caring for this important waterway and the land surrounding it. Please support them in this incredibly fun way if you can! ~AR
I’m just waiting for the green to color the trees around the Bronx River. Then I’ll be content in the knowledge that the ice is on vacation. —MN
If you look very closely, that’s a muskrat swimming across the Bronx River.
Ever wondered how beavers got the reputation for being busy, well, beavers? After checking out the nearly 200 images captured by one of our Forest critter cams of this busy, busy beaver, I think I finally understand. The Garden and the Bronx River are the proud residence of the first two beavers —José and Justin—to call New York City home in more than 200 years. Beavers were once common in our fair boroughs, but their luxurious pelts were their doom, and they were hunted and trapped to extinction in our area while simultaneously making Gotham a world capital of commerce and trade (they’re even featured on the official seal of the city).
Whether this beaver is José or Justin is almost impossible to tell, but it’s not the first time we have caught our resident critters on film. Over the summer, during an impressive heat wave, our critter cam also caught a curious fox, racoon, and one very exasperated looking great-horned owl. We’re sure there are more critter cam surprises to come, so stay tuned and keep an eye peeled when you’re visiting the Garden, you just never know who you’ll meet along the way! ~AR
ps - The awesome gifs were created by Matt Newman, aka MN.
Matt Cook, NYBG’s Assistant Manager of Arboretum and Grounds, snapped this mysterious set of tracks crossing the frozen Bronx River. Anyone have any thoughts as to what it might be? We’re stumped. ~AR
Update: Word just in from one of the herpetologists at the American Museum of Natural History that these tracks were most likely not made by a turtle (one of the more popular suggestions). Why? They’re cold blooded, and boy has it been cold! Their best guess? A large bird, perhaps a goose or a turkey.
Happy stories about the Bronx River make me happy! This is a nice look at a new study of amphibians and reptiles being undertaken by our colleagues at the Wildlife Conservation Society (aka, the Bronx Zoo) who are situated just down the river from us. The WCS team are looking at the health of the river’s amphibians as proxy for the health of the river. It is a prelude to next year’s building of a fish ladder by the Bronx River Alliance that will allow the native fish, alewife, to spawn again in the Bronx River. And it’s all thanks to Congressman Jose Serrano, namesake of Jose Beaver (and friend of Justin Beaver) who undertook the restoration of the river many years ago. Like I said, happy stories make me happy! ~AR
Wow! What an amazing old photograph of the Bronx River! Is that a house on its banks? Elizabeth Akers Allen was born in Maine, began writing in her teens, attended college, married, divorced, traveled in Europe and then married again. It was this second marriage that brought her to the environs of the Bronx, when she and her husband moved to Tuckahoe where I am assuming she wrote The Ballad of the Bronx. Allen is best known for a poem called “Rock Me To Sleep Mother,” but it is this poem, “Witch Hazel” towards which I am drawn today. There is little information about her online, so if anyone knows more about this woman, please let me know! ~AR
Ballads by Elizabeth Akers, 1897
Tipped-in handwritten note states: “This is the only copy of ‘The Ballad of the Bronx,’ illustrated by the author herself, from photographs taken in the locality of the Bronx River which the poem celebrates.”
from the Visual Studies Workshop Rare Books Archive
Yeah, that’s actually New York City. And if going canoeing in this packed metropolis sounds outlandish, it shouldn’t. You’ll have your chance on November 3 and 4 when the Bronx River Alliance leads canoe trips for our Fall Forest Weekend, guiding rowers through the NYBG’s stretch of the river for a rare fall outing. You’ll want to register early to get a spot.
The Alliance also leads canoeing trips along other stretches of the Bronx River throughout the year, so be sure to check out their schedule if you’re game.
(Image source: our very own Pat Gonzalez—volunteer, raptor fiend, and all around cool lady.) —MN
Ever wondered how you can canoe or kayak down the Bronx River—complete with portage in the Garden and a leisurely paddle through the Zoo? Patrick Howell O’Neill tackles the topic for Men’s Journal, and even gives a shout-out to Jose and Justin Beaver! ~AR
The Bronx River #nybg #nyc #bronxriver #nature (Taken with Instagram at New York Botanical Garden)
This is a really great story about the comeback of the Bronx River, New York City’s only freshwater river, and one of the most beautiful natural features of our 250 acres. The Bronx River Alliance has so much to be proud of!
Nothing but peace, quiet, and blissful shade on the Bronx River today. -AR
Duck … Duck … Duck duck duck … duckduckduckduck … Ahhhh! Too many ducks to count! It’s a duck’s life on the Bronx River in this beautiful weather. Quack, quack!~AR