Bar Car Nights Return to the New York Botanical Garden This Friday!

There’s just something about the cold weather that makes me want to cozy up with a good drink. Okay…so maybe that’s all four seasons, but how often can you do that surrounded by beautiful plants and a train show circling miniature versions of NYC landmarks made out of plants? This year, there will be spiked hot chocolate (!), roasted chestnuts, and an “intimate jazz set” which all sounds like an awesome way to kickstart your holiday season.  Obviously, all Bar Car Nights are 21 and up (keep the youngins at home!)

Read below for more information:

This year’s Bar Car Nights series kicks off with The New York Botanical Garden’s inaugural

LGBT @ NYBG event. On Friday, November 21, the Bar Car Night will celebrate the LGBT

community and its allies alongside the spectacular glow of the Garden’s enchanting holiday


Listen to live music at The Pine Tree Café each night with cabaret and jazz sets at 7:15, 8:15, &

9 p.m. The rotating musicians include:

Myriam Phiro & the Cavaliers of Swing (November 21 & 22; December 5 & 6;

January 9 & 10)

Myriam Phiro’s musical style ranges from a seductive and elegant jazz singer to an

energetic swing dancer. Brought together by a mutual love of French cuisine and French

music, she began a musical partnership with trombonist Robbie Klein. Robbie has a

decade of education in American Jazz yet found himself captivated by French music at

first “bonjour!”


Les Chauds Lapins (December 19 & 20; January 2 & 3)

Les Chauds Lapins (“the hot rabbits”), lead by New York’s Kurt Hoffman and Meg

Reichardt, rearranges long-forgotten French classics, mixing the rootsiness of early

American jazz with the lushness of a Bernard Herrmann film soundtrack.

The winter wonderland comes to life with Ice Sculpture Carving Demonstrations in the

Garden’s Leon Levy Visitor Center. Watch an expert New York-based ice carver from Okamoto 

Studio transform blocks of ice into holiday works of arts. The sculptures’ magnificence

progresses throughout the night while portraits are taken under the twinkling lights of the holiday

tree display.

Light up the Night Performances provide a magical atmosphere and set the tone for a

memorable evening of glowing light. Cirque de Light performers, with their variety of props,

including staffs, hula hoops, and poi, charm audiences along Perennial Garden Way with their wit

and playfulness.


Non-Member $35/Member $25 (Adults 21 and over); Special Event ticket required.  

Advance tickets recommended; includes one complimentary beer, wine, or cocktail of your 


Although your ticket provides access to the entire event between 7–10 p.m., when purchasing tickets you will need to select an entrance time for the Holiday Train Show in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.  


During the Holiday Train Show, November 15, 2014–January 19, 2015, The New York 

Botanical Garden is open Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Extended hours, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., 

Saturdays, November 15– January 17; Friday, November 28 (day after Thanksgiving); and 

December 20–January 1. The Garden is closed all day on November 27 (Thanksgiving) and 

December 25 (Christmas); it closes at 3 p.m. on December 12 and 24 (Christmas Eve). 








North America’s Largest Pumpkin at NYBG this Weekend! 10/25 & 10/26

Hello, hello. Halloween is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it – the candy, the costumes, the movies. And of course all of the traditions that go along with it, like carving pumpkins. Unfortunately, I have a cute (but admittedly boring) styrofoam glitter pumpkin I got from Party City and didn’t have a chance to get a real pumpkin this year. 😦

BUT! Maybe I can live vicariously through one of you if you attend the viewing of North America’s largest pumpkin at the Botanical Garden this weekend. I’ll be away, so I’m trusting you guys to take lots of awesome giant pumpkin selfies! [Insert clever Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin Joke here 🙂 ]

More information from NYBG:

 The largest pumpkin in North America — it is 2,058 pounds! — will be on display at The New York Botanical Gardenthis Saturday and Sunday, October 25 & 26. It will be featured at the Botanical Garden’s Leon Levy Visitor Center Reflecting Pool. Other prize-winning pumpkins and gourds will also be on display at the Clay Family Picnic Pavilions, arranged in collaboration with the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth.

There’s a lot going on at the Garden this weekend, including Spooky Nighttime Adventures on Friday and Saturdaynight for children and The Haunted Pumpkin Garden in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden.

The Spotlight: Stef Lebaux

The Battle of the Boroughs- Bronx is a week away! As I’ve mentioned many times, it’s been one of my favorite events to attend since I began the blog. Our borough has so many wonderful, talented musicians that we probably pass in our daily travels and Battle of the Boroughs gives us a chance to hear them and see them perform. Stef Lebaux is one of those people. Like a mixologist of sound, she blends unique sounds together and pairs them with her hauntingly beautiful voice and clever lyrics. Learn more about her below in this month’s Spotlight!


Stef_Lebaux_Terrors Album Cover_1400

Are you originally from the Bronx? If so, where? Do you feel that the Bronx inspires your work?

I grew up in the Morris Park area of the Bronx. I went to Boston to attend Emerson College and graduated with a degree in audio engineering and a minor in broadcast journalism, I also took music and engineering classes at Berklee College of Music. After that, I went to Los Angeles to work at Indie 103.1FM (an awesome indie station with tons of celebrity Djs). I worked as a producer, audio engineer and on-air personality. The city you grow up in definitely shapes who you are. No matter what city I’ve lived in, I’ve always been a New Yorker, and knew I wanted to come back some day. Being away from my family and friends in the Bronx inspired a lot of the emotion behind my newest EP release “Terrors”, and since returning to the Bronx, I feel rejuvenated and inspired to take my career in new directions.

Are there are people or things that influence your music?

I’m very inspired by the music I grew up listening to. There was always music on in the house, whether it was my parents listening to the Beatles, Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald on vinyl, my father playing acoustic guitar, or my sister listening to Trip Hop and Grunge. I fell in love with the Trip Hop genre- bands like Portishead, Fiona Apple and Radiohead are huge inspirations to me. As an electronic artist, I love to mesh the edgy nostalgic 90’s style with the energy of modern EDM. I use ProTools as an instrument to create and manipulate all the audio in my songs.

Tell us a bit about your decision to try out for Battle of the Boroughs and how you are preparing for it.

I have a huge appreciation for stations such as WNYC that facilitate the growth of independent artists. As a proud Bronx resident, I was excited to submit to represent my borough in such an awesome event! My long term boyfriend and incredibly driven upright bassist Jon LaTona is a huge inspiration to me, and we have been rehearsing as often as possible. I’ve also teamed up with the amazing vocal coach I worked with growing up to polish up on technique and stage presence. I’ve been performing at open mics around the Bronx, promoting on Facebook and twitter, and also started a YouTube channel doing covers (or as I like to call them, creative interpretations) of popular songs to get my name out there!

What are your top three favorite places in the Bronx?

My favorite place is my home studio in Morris Park. As a singer, songwriter, audio engineer, and producer, having my own space in a quiet centrally located neighborhood is amazing and I can’t imagine life without it! I’ve recently discovered An Beal Bocht in Riverdale. It’s an amazing and very welcoming environment for artists to gather- and I hope to become an open mic regular there. Last but not least, The Bronx Botanical Gardens. My mother worked and studied there when I was growing up, and not only do I have some great memories, but it’s a beautiful place to walk around when you need a bit of nature in the city.

What’s next for your after Battle of the Boroughs?
I’m in the process of conceptualizing and creating music videos for the songs on my EP “Terrors”. Beyond that, I already have enough songs for a second album, and am very excited to move into the production stage for it! I won’t completely disappear into the studio though- I’m going to keep covering songs on my new Youtube channel, as well as performing around NYC. I’m currently working on two different sides of my live performance, a full setup with a DJ and electronic drummer to perform the full soundscape of my electronic tracks, as well as an acoustic setup with just me on vocals and Jon on upright bass. It takes a village to make an artist successful, and I’ve been wearing a lot of hats in order to move my career forward. As an independent artist, my biggest goals are to keep creating music that I love, and to search for fans to share it with.


You can keep up with Stef online on Facebook, Cdbaby, Youtube and Twitter! Be sure to catch her on The Greene Space & WNYC’s Battle of the Boroughs: The Bronx this Friday, April 4!

New York Botanical Gardens’ Cocktail Evenings & Summer Concerts

Last night, Bronx Mama and I went to check out the New York Botanical’s last installment of its Cocktail Evenings and Summer Concerts series. The annual celebration of nature and music featured food and drinks from local vendors such as Mike’s Deli and the Bronx Beer Hall.  Italian tenor Michael Castaldo sang a variety of songs from Calabrian renditions of classics to more modern songs such as Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero.”

The weather was perfect (it is still summer, right?) for a nice picnic (which the garden ingeniously provided blankets for) and sipping the signature cocktail, Strawberry Fields – a light, fruity drink made with bourbon, Créme Yvette, ginger ale, and lime.

Before the concert, we got a chance to check out the Wild Medicine exhibit, which leads guests through green houses showcasing plants from all over the world and their varied healing powers. Since I’ve been getting more and more into a healthier and natural lifestyle, it was great to see some familiar plants and learn about some new ones! Garden educators taught visitors about cacao (with a sampling of 70% dark chocolate. Yum!) and how tea is processed. Did you know that green tea is the least processed? Makes me feel even better about my daily cup (or two if it’s a really stressful day) of  tea.

Though this was the last one scheduled for this year, be sure to look out for next year’s line up and other events by checking the garden’s website.

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