Cherry Blossom Picnic
posted April 9, 2014 6:21 AM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Sun May 18 at 11:00 AM, Untermyer Gardens
945 North Broadway, Yonkers, NY, USA (Map & Directions)
Come to the gardens in Yonkers where I work and have a potluck picnic under the cherry trees.
As an outside event that depends heavily on weather and when the trees blossom, the date for this event is likely to change.
So definitely check here before heading out the door! I'm putting the day down as the 18th even though I may have to sneak away at 2pm to give an official tour of the place.
Last year we had a picnic in the gardens in September and it was suggested that we repeat this in the spring when the cherry trees are in bloom.

To get an idea of the place, a former grand estate with a Walled Indo-Persian style garden, take a look at photos from the previous year.

The gardens are in Yonkers and are most easily reached by car, bus or Metro North. I've recently finished updating our website with directions. Note that if you're taking the bus, the Beeline uses NYC's metrocard and accepts transfers from the subway at the northern terminus of the 1 line (242nd and Broadway). Last year, there were two drivers coming from NYC and my husband also picked up people from the Metro North train station - hopefully we can do this again as the walk from the train station is quite uphill. Trains run approximately once an hour and the train ride which is along the banks of the Hudson River is one of the most beautiful train rides I've enjoyed. Try to get a seat on the west side of the train to get the best views.

The gardens have public restrooms, and parts are wheelchair accessible - the area we are planning on picnicking is accessible to wheelchair only if the person with the wheelchair doesn't mind a bit of off-road, downhill action. Or we could change the picnic location.

Dates: the weekend of May 17th is our best bets in terms of cherry blossoms, but that could change. We can't predict the weather more than a week in advance, so this is going to be a bit of a challenge to schedule.

We should plan to meet around noon and picnic and I'd be happy to show people around the place after lunch.

This is a public park so there is no admission fee. Things that are not permitted: dogs and alcohol.
posted by sciencegeek to Meetup (66 comments total)

This sounds soooo nice!
posted by Salamandrous at 6:33 AM on April 9, 2014

I vote for May 18. The previous weekend would work as well, but I know it's less likely due to Mother's Day.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:59 AM on April 9, 2014

It's a nice bike ride, too!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:03 AM on April 9, 2014

as computech_apollioniajames mentions, it is a nice bike ride. you can also hike the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail to get there, but I'd recommend getting a map before starting because it is a bit convoluted both north and south of the stretch that intersects Untermyer.

I'm shying away from mother's day weekend as well - people love going to gardens on mother's day and many people like spending time with their own mom rather than picnicking with people from the internet.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:29 AM on April 9, 2014

Exciting! The gardens are awesome and sciencegeek is a great tour guide. If we somehow do it on Mother's Day I bet my mom would love to come!
posted by mlle valentine at 8:36 AM on April 9, 2014

Whoooa, MeFite+Mom Meet Up!

I'm out of town the weekend of May 3rd, but I'm good with either the weekends of May 10th (not that I don't like spending time with my own mom, but she is several states away) or May 17th.
posted by unannihilated at 9:02 AM on April 9, 2014

Totally forgot to look at my work calendar before doing this - I'm giving official tours 3:30pm Saturday June 3rd and 2pm Sunday June 18th. I think the 3:30 on the 3rd is probably okay, but it means I might have to bail partway through and y'all would have to promise not to heckle me as I pass by with visitors!

Unless June 18th is the ONLY nice day of those three weekends, I'd rather not do this then.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:25 AM on April 9, 2014

And by June, I mean May.
posted by sciencegeek at 12:11 PM on April 9, 2014

Last time I arrived too late to help with ferrying people from the train station, but hopefully I'll make it on time for this one. (I can fit 3 passengers comfortably, 4 passengers less comfortably, if there are any Jersey City area mefites who'd like a ride.)

No preference on the date for me, will wait & see what the weather gods have in store for us.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:11 PM on April 9, 2014

And now there may be a FIT fashion show in the gardens on an as yet undisclosed date in May. Could things be slightly less complicated please?
posted by sciencegeek at 5:21 PM on April 9, 2014

Sundays are better for me in general. The 18th works (currently).

If you're at all on the fence about this, it's truly beautiful and you should not miss this chance.
posted by Eideteker at 4:58 AM on April 10, 2014

The weekend of the 3rd and 4th is out due to multiple events in the gardens.

I think that either the 17th or the 18th makes the most sense, weather permitting.

I am going to try to get someone to cover the official tour I'm giving on the 18th.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:46 PM on April 10, 2014

This sounds delightful. I've never been to a meetup before. Not sure if I can make it yet, but if I can I'll be driving -I come from about 50 minutes upstate- and would happy to ferry from the train station.
posted by firei at 4:35 PM on April 10, 2014

Cherry trees have exciting buds on them right now.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:04 PM on April 22, 2014

would a rabbit on a leash be allowed?
posted by rmless at 8:38 AM on April 23, 2014

You know, I've never even considered rabbits on leashes in a parks setting.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:18 AM on April 23, 2014

I assure you it is very adorable.
posted by rmless at 8:21 AM on April 24, 2014

I have no objections, but we will likely be walking around the whole place at some point and will the rabbit be able to keep up?
posted by sciencegeek at 1:59 PM on April 24, 2014

Bunnies and gardens and MeFites, oh my!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:33 AM on April 25, 2014

I'm setting the date for the 17th with a rain date of the 18th. The first cherry tree is just coming into bloom as of today. The tulips are in bloom and the gardeners are a bit frantic as is traditional in springtime.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:02 PM on April 28, 2014

I'm trying to figure out how I can run a race in Brooklyn that morning and get home in time to recover then make it to Yonkers.... hrrmmmmm. I'll put down a maybe.
posted by gaspode at 5:46 PM on April 29, 2014

I hear that laying in the grass under cherry trees is very good for recovery after races.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:46 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Cherry blossom update: one tree is in bloom.
posted by sciencegeek at 12:05 PM on April 30, 2014

I am doing the same race as gaspode. Getting back uptown and then to Yonkers might be a bit ambitious for the BF and I.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 12:22 PM on April 30, 2014

ok, ok. I will move it to Sunday.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:34 PM on April 30, 2014

Neat, Sunday picnic means I should be able to bring something homemade instead of just doing a Trader Joe's run on my way to the GWB.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:08 AM on May 1, 2014

I am now sure I can make it. Yay! Can you memail me your number so I can call from the metro north station? Also, which train are people catching?
posted by Hactar at 5:30 AM on May 12, 2014

Hactar: if I'm reading the train schedules correctly they leave Grand Central every hour on the :20s and take about 40 minutes. I would probably plan to catch the 11:20. (I know that's a bit later than the meetup start time but it's not likely I am going to get to GCT by 10:20).

Everyone: I am going to try to make a banana-Nutella loaf cake to bring, unless y'all hate chocolate or something.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:14 AM on May 12, 2014

I bought eggs yesterday to make spicy deviled eggs. I may also attempt a watermelon/feta salad of some kind.
posted by oh yeah! at 11:27 AM on May 12, 2014

From Grand Central to Greystone
The 1020 arrives at 1057
The 1120 arrives at 1157

We will send a vehicle to meet these trains. It will likely be a small pretty beat up green/blue Toyota Corolla of the 1993 vintage. It will be being driven by my plus one who is a tall skinny guy with glasses.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:20 PM on May 12, 2014

Honestly, I'll probably bring whatever looks yummy from Costco. Do people have a preference? Main dish, snacky food, dessert, etc.?
posted by unannihilated at 1:12 PM on May 14, 2014

I forget, what did we do for beverages last time? No alcohol allowed, right?
posted by oh yeah! at 1:39 PM on May 14, 2014

I have no actual memory of beverages last time. Hm. It is true that no alcohol is allowed. The +1 and I are actually headed to Costco and maybe we should pick up some beverages since we're the closest to the meetup and beverages are the heaviest. A case of water and a case of some soda-like beverage?

I've also been inviting random friends to come along to. There may be some family involved. Which is my way of saying "Go ahead and invite people you'd like to picnic with even if they're not Mefites."

Free form picnic!
posted by sciencegeek at 3:25 PM on May 14, 2014

This afternoon in the gardens. The cherry trees may be on their last petals by Sunday, but there are other things in bloom.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:19 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bringing beverages, a quinoa salad, plates, utensils, cups. Family is bringing chips and salsa. No idea on other people.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:46 PM on May 17, 2014

I couldn't make it out to the grocery store today, so, I'll be making the deviled eggs today since I've got the ingredients already, and will pick up additional munchies at Trader Joes and/or Whole Foods on the way to the GW Bridge. (though I think it was the morning shopping that made me too late to help with the train pick-up last time, will try to time it better)
posted by oh yeah! at 3:57 PM on May 17, 2014

Loaf cake achieved!
posted by mlle valentine at 6:19 PM on May 17, 2014

I'm taking the seems like four or five of us are. Yinz guys want to meet up at Grand Central?
posted by unannihilated at 9:57 PM on May 17, 2014

Memail me if any of you need my number.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:37 AM on May 18, 2014

I'll be boarding at Marble Hill. If you get a chance, lmk where on the train y'all are (which car) if possible. (If not, no big; I'll see you at the other end.)
posted by Eideteker at 6:12 AM on May 18, 2014

And if you have a number that you think is mine with a 215 area code, I no longer have that number. I'm a 914 now.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:02 AM on May 18, 2014

It's looking likely I'm going to miss this 11:20 train. (I was elsewhere this morning and had terrible train luck that compounded to being an hour over schedule at this point. Sorry.) Should I not bother? I seem to recall this is not walkable from the station. Or is it? If the issue is just distance, I don't mind, but I feel like it wasn't a walkable route.
posted by unannihilated at 7:29 AM on May 18, 2014

We can still find someone to pick you up. Another friend of mine is likely on a later train as well. And there are other people coming by car.

It is such a lovely day that it would be a shame to not spend it in the gardens.

Also the route is walkable - it is my commute to work every day - it is just VERY uphill. more than 200ft in elevation.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:32 AM on May 18, 2014

I'm getting the 1120 I'll see some of you there.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 7:37 AM on May 18, 2014

I just talked to Hactar, who is (independent of me) running late and won't make the 11:20 train. We're both going to catch the 12:20.

If you all want to eat earlier, you don't have to wait for us. (Though I will be bringing some bagels.)

If it's a pain to send another car we don't mind walking it.
posted by unannihilated at 7:38 AM on May 18, 2014

And good to know it's not a issue because I was really looking forward to it and would have been sad if I couldn't make space!!
posted by unannihilated at 7:41 AM on May 18, 2014

Leaves from track 28. I'll be there in 10 minutes and I'll look for mefites.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:52 AM on May 18, 2014

Looks like I'm going to be late again as well, just got to Edgewater now, and need to stop for gas once I'm done with the stores.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:03 AM on May 18, 2014

Coming on the 12:20 with husband and carrot salad!
Hopefully we can squeeze in some car as well, but if not I will wear comfortable shoes to do the walk.
posted by rmless at 8:03 AM on May 18, 2014

I'll also be on the 12:20 (1240 from Marble Hill).
posted by Eideteker at 8:50 AM on May 18, 2014

At track 28 in a black and white striped shirt w husband in green shirt if others are here...
posted by rmless at 8:57 AM on May 18, 2014

...and a bunny on a leash? *hopeful*
posted by unannihilated at 9:22 AM on May 18, 2014

Today is not my day for subway trains. But with some determination and sprinting, I made the 12:20 with six minutes to spare. Finally all that running feels useful!

Hactar was having his own transportation problems, and I haven't heard from him/seen him, so I'm not sure if he made it.
posted by unannihilated at 9:23 AM on May 18, 2014

Just made it to the Garden parking area, don't actually know the way to the train station so I guess I'll just look around for people here and help with the later train pickups?
posted by oh yeah! at 9:26 AM on May 18, 2014

Eid- we got on car 4283 in the middle of the train
posted by rmless at 9:28 AM on May 18, 2014

Sorry no bunny :( didn't know what the situation would be and didn't want to get in trouble or have to go straight home!
posted by rmless at 9:29 AM on May 18, 2014

I'll look for you!
posted by Eideteker at 9:31 AM on May 18, 2014

I didn't see what car I got on (I was dashing), and I don't see numbers on the inside, but I'm in the middle of the train somewhere and reading if anyone feels compelled to look for me for company. (This train is nearly full though, though I have two seats beside me.) Otherwise I'll just see you all there!
posted by unannihilated at 9:35 AM on May 18, 2014

I found rmless + spouse! We're about 5 min away.
posted by Eideteker at 9:56 AM on May 18, 2014

Thanks everyone - that was a really nice afternoon and it was great to share it with y'all.

I need that deviled egg recipe.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:19 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

The recipe is here - Grandpa Cooley's Angry Deviled Eggs.

For posterity in case of link rot - boil 12 eggs, peel slice in half, put the yolks in a fine-mesh sieve and use a spatula to press them through the sieve into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish, 2 teaspoons yellow mustard, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, & 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the bowl and mix together until it's fully blended. Put yolk mixture back into egg whites, and garnish with paprika. (Only now do I realize that I forgot to add the pepper last night, no wonder it didn't have as much kick as the last time I made it. Also, I'd forgotten I was out of yellow mustard and had to substitute with dijon.) Tricks my mother taught me - try not to use very fresh eggs since the shells peel easier if the eggs have time to contract a bit in the fridge, and use a ziplock baggie with the corner snipped off as a makeshift pastry sleeve to get the yolk mixture into the egg white with the least mess.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:37 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is the place we passed on the drive home.

Might be a little... preppy? But if people are interested (it sure looks pretty), we can try a meetup there.
posted by Eideteker at 8:57 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks for hosting, sciencegeek, and hope we can do it again sometime!
posted by mlle valentine at 12:52 PM on May 19, 2014

Great to see you/meet you and see the beautiful gardens!
posted by rmless at 2:44 PM on May 20, 2014

I'm actually all about that quinoa salad. Remind me what was in it again?
posted by unannihilated at 7:02 PM on May 21, 2014

quinoa salad was quinoa plus mustard shallot vinaigrette (go heavy on the mustard and use a whole grain dijon kinda thang).

things added:
dried cranberries
pecans (they were relatively cheap at costco, I usually use walnuts)
cut up apple
cut up green beans

things i sometimes add
cut up red/orange/yellow peppers make it pretty
cut up celery or english cukes for crunch

and thanks again for a lovely afternoon in the gardens.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:04 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

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