#360 The Botanical Gardens of New York City

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Nature and history intertwine in all five boroughs -- from The Bronx River to the shores of Staten Island -- in this special episode about New York City's many botanical gardens.

A botanical garden is more than just a pretty place; it's a collection of plant life for the purposes of preservation, education and study. But in an urban environment like New York City, botanical gardens also must engage with modern life, becoming both a park and natural history museum.

The New York Botanical Garden, established in 1891, became a sort of Gilded Age trophy room for exotic trees, plants and flowers, astride the natural features of The Bronx (and an old tobacco mill).

When the Brooklyn Botanic Garden opened next to the Brooklyn Museum in 1911, its delights included an extraordinary Japanese garden by Takeo Shiota, one of the first of its kind in the United States.

The World's Fair of 1939-40 also brought an international flavor to New York City, and one of its more peculiar exhibitions -- called Gardens on Parade -- stuck around in the form of the Queens Botanical Garden.

PLUS: Gardens help save New York City landmarks -- from an historic estate overlooking the Hudson River to a stately collection of architecture from the early 19th century in Staten Island.

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