Visitors to the horticultural delights of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden have a new perch from which to enjoy the view.
The Robert W. Wilson Overlook, officially opened on November 6, provides a sweeping vista of the Cherry Esplanade and the garden beyond. A hilly expanse, its gently sloping walkways are fully accessible.
Located on the north end of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the roughly 1.25 acres of land abut the Botanic Garden Visitor Center and the parking lot of the Brooklyn Museum. The section had remained underutilized for decades, a remnant from the grand plans for the massively scaled Brooklyn Institute, now the Brooklyn Museum, that were scrapped after the consolidation of New York City.
The Overlook was designed by Weiss/Manfredi, the same firm responsible for the Visitor Center, which opened in 2012. Steps directly behind the building lead up the top of the Overlook, or one can take a curving pathway. The pathway was designed to accommodate wheelchair access and includes landings and seating areas. The view from the walkway is uninterrupted by handrails, thanks to the low incline of the trail.
The new walkway also provided an opportunity to showcase botanicals, and Wolf Landscape Architecture introduced more than 40,000 new plants. The scheme is planned for eventual four-season beauty but the stand-out feature will be the 34 crape myrtles. After the brilliance of the spring cherry blossom display — for which the Overlook will be a prime viewing spot — the crape myrtles will take over the show with late summer blooms.
The completion of the Overlook project also restored an entry to the garden. The Eastern Parkway entrance, located adjacent to the Brooklyn Museum and the 2 and 3 trains, opened last week.
The new feature was named in honor of the late Robert W. Wilson, a passionate supporter of the garden and a volunteer who considered it an oasis, according to the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust. The Trust provided $10 million towards the garden’s Campaign for the New Century fund, which paid for the design and construction of the Overlook site.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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