All photos by Scott Lynch
Nov 22, 2021
Winter wonderland: Dazzling ‘Lightscape’ comes to Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The mile-long holiday installation features more than one million lights—and will no doubt spawn just as many selfies
Brooklyn Botanic Garden is inviting you to have your mind blown this holiday season (or just, like, have a fun night out with your family) at Lightscape, a huge new illuminated installation that opened Friday and runs through January 9.
The immersive nighttime experience is a first for the BBG, though Lightscape began eight years ago at the Royal Botanic Gardens in London, and has since become popular in places like Chicago and Melbourne. It’s hard to imagine this not becoming an annual tradition here, too.
Lightscape comprises 18 different light installations set along a mile-long path through the garden’s 52-acre grounds. You wander in the dark, come across something fantastical, have a few laughs, take a few photos, and move along the next one. At a leisurely pace it takes about an hour. If you stop for some hot cocoa, or a fresh fire-pit s’more (or a can or two of something boozy) you could easily make a night out of it.
There’s a lot to take in. The real showstoppers here include the Winter Cathedral Tunnel, a twinkling, 98-foot-long selfie-magnet; the Fire Garden, which features dozens of actual flames and, to be honest, vibes a bit like a Satanic ritual in the woods; and the undulating Sea of Light on the famous Cherry Esplanade.
I also liked the Wish Tree, upon which you can “draw” with your phone’s flashlight, and the self-explanatory Laser Pond (it’s lasers shooting out over a pond), designed by an artist named Fog-Man.
Brooklyn’s own Jacqueline Woodson wrote a series of site-specific poems for our version of Lightscape, stanzas of which are projected onto the ground throughout your journey. Music accompanies you as well, ranging from moody ambient pieces to Christmas carol classics to Stevie Wonder radio hits.
Lightscape runs for almost 40 nights between now and January 9th. Capacity is limited (so it will sell out), and timed-entry tickets can be purchased here.
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