The Byrne Notice

The New York Orchid Show Feels Like A Mary Katrantzou Suit Come To Life

Orchid Culture // Exhibitions 

Imagine walking into MoMA and seeing the paintings, or even the walls themselves, turned to vibrant patches of flora. That’s what it’s like in the New York Botanical Garden’s observatory right now. This year’s 10th annual orchid show features the gravity-defying vertical gardens of French botanist and artist Patrick Blanc, and though a lot of crazy exhibitions pass through New York, we’re gonna guess you’ve never seen anything like Blanc’s famed “green walls.” He’s designed gardens on the walls of hotels, museums and fashion shows (most notably the living, permanent exterior of the Quai Branly museum in Paris) — and this one is one for the books.

Each of the observatory’s connected rooms is more insane than the previous, starting with a waterfall cascade of delicate purple butterfly orchids in the entryway’s pond. The reflecting pool beyond has archways of red and yellow blooms literally brushing your head, and the thumbnail-size miniature orchids in the rainforest gallery will blow your mind. The masterpiece comes near the end: a 13-sq.-ft. “cube” of orchids and tropical vines with two doorways, six windows and plaques inside detailing Blanc’s other work. It all looks like a Mary Katrantzou suit come to life, only way cheaper.

Even if you’re not a huge botany nerd, it’s pretty spectacular. You can even see it downtown style: every Saturday from 6 to 9.30 they have “Orchid Evenings,” with signature cocktails and mood lighting (BYO romance). Hurry on uptown to see it; nature like this only comes but once a year.

2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY tel 718-817-8700 Nybg.org

-- Mickie Meinhardt

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