There are two ways to get to New York Botanical Gardens. You can take the clean, fast overground from Grand Central (where you should fill up on oysters from the bar in the basement first). Or you can take the tunnel and ride the subway. It takes a lot longer, but itâ€™s a hell of a lot cheaper, which is why, once the overground had bankrupted me, I picked up courage to ride the 456 all the way.
I was an intern at the NYBG from 1996-7 â€“ a great way to spend the second year of a five year diploma at Kew.Â I spent most of my time – apart from coldest bit in the winter – at the rock garden training to be an alpine specialist.
It was a paid internship sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute which, sadly, they don’t do any more. Â Looking back it was a golden moment to train. Everyone paid you; now anyone going into to horticulture comes out hugely in debt like any other student.
So few people rode all the way from lower Manhattan to the Bronx at 6am that by the end I knew them all by sight. The gang would sit in the very first carriage for the thrill of seeing through a tiny window in the front the dark belly of Manhattan recede to high lines of the Bronx.
If you crane your neck at the right moment, you can get a slice of baseball at the Yankee Stadium. Cheap thrills.