Brooklyn, NY

It's a Good Thing BBG's Lightscape Is Difficult to Capture


Brooklyn, NY - What is the point of visiting a botanic garden in the winter? The leafless trees, the cooler temperatures, the lack of color - most gardens appear lifeless during this time of year. Better to visit in the spring when the first blooms guarantee a mood lift.

At the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, there is a cherry blossom esplanade that pops in April, enticing visitors with gorgeous pink hues. The rows of trees, situated between an open field, offer the perfect spot for photo ops.

Usually, by winter, the esplanade appears bare. But this year, BBG decided to use the space for a different kind of color show: Lightscape.

In a still photo, the lights across the open field appear stationary. In real life, the lights switch on and off, timed with music, their illumination choreographed. Due to their programming, the lights appear to cascade like running water or rush upward in orderly rows.

This impressive spectacle, though situated near the Eastern Parkway entrance, concludes the holiday trail. Before any visitors reach this spot, they have walked through the entire garden, lit up fantastically.

The photos seen here were taken on New Year's Eve, on a cloudy night. Nearly everyone wore masks, due to the crowding at certain points along the path. Despite the fog and covered faces, people desperately tried to capture the magical display with the cameras on their cell phones.

You can check out the #bbglightscape tag on Instagram to see some of the photos. Like the ones seen here, the images fail to reproduce the in-person experience. And that's probably a good thing.

Why? Well, for one, it ensures that people will want to visit the garden themselves, to enjoy the experience firsthand. Also, it's a good reminder that taking selfies isn't the point of going out and having a good time.

For example, if you look at these strange-looking lights situated on top of the Lily Pools, you might glance at the image for a second, not realizing their dynamic quality. Not only do the lights switch between various colors, they move from the base outward, creating a mesmerizing effect on the viewer.

What is the point of visiting a botanic garden in the winter? Now there's a perfectly good reason, thanks to this effort by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. If you haven't visited the Lightscape yet, there are four more days to catch the holiday light show. Tickets are available Thursday, January 6 through Sunday, January 9, 2022.

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