The Robert W. Wilson Overlook is an architectural garden, a horticultural wonder of a walkway with a tremendous view of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. But not many folks have seen it, since it opened just two weeks before the garden closed on March 16.
"We are so excited about it. It's really coming into bloom beautifully right now," said Kathryn Glass, Chief Public Affairs Officer for the BBG.
The garden is a favoite spot for many in Brooklyn, and like other outdoor cultural institutions that have been permitted to resume operations, it's now all about the social distancing. There’s now a timed-entry ticketing system, and those tickets must be acquired in advance, so no more walk-up purchases. The garden's three entrances will help the cause of keeping people distant from one another.
"We've spread out ticketing and staggered it so that we are having people come in at a specific entrance. That way, we know we can help people spread out across the 52-acre site," said Glass.
There is plenty of signage to remind visitors to keep six feet apart and wear masks. Indoor areas other than restrooms, like the restaurant and gift shop, are closed.
Glass said the shutdown was tough on this venerable not-for-profit, which is operating at a serious deficit for first time in its 110-year history. BBG was able to avoid laying off any of its staff.
"The loss of spring attendance income, dining, weddings, is huge for us," said Glass, who added that being open with such limited attendance means taking a small financial loss, but the garden feels it's the right thing to do to be there for the community.
Other new attractions include a woodland garden with a structure that appears to be the shell of an old building, with a maple grove.
For the first four weeks of reopening, folks are invited to come in for free. Attendance will be capped at 1,000 a day. Typically, around 3,000 people stroll the grounds each day this time of year.
To find out more and get tickets, head to BBG.org.