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Enid A Haupt Conservatory: A World of PlantsOpened in 1902, the Haupt has been restored several times, most recently by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects in 1997, and refurbished in 2010.

If the New York Botanical Garden is the city’s greatest cultural institution you’ve never visited, you’ll want to rectify that immediately. Founded in 1891 by forward-thinking citizens and funded by taxpayers as well as the nation’s most famous moguls (Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Morgan were on the founding board), the NYBG was remarkable from day one.

Despite the NYBG’s timeless nature there are seasonal reasons to go now. For one thing, you don’t want to miss the extraordinary Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life exhibition, whose run has been extended until November 1. For another, autumn is an especially beautiful time at the garden.

10. The NYBG By the Numbers

New York Botanical Garden-Mertz Library-NYCPhoto by Robert Benson for NY Botanical Garden

Today, the New York Botanical Garden’s extraordinary library houses 75% of the world’s literature on systematic botany and 70% of the world’s published floras, says the New York Times.

A living academic campus as well as a botanical garden, it hosts the most important plant collections in the Western Hemisphere and archives over one million botanical artifacts. Its scientists travel to the four corners of the world on research expeditions and name 60-80 species a year. Its 50-acre forest of oaks and hemlocks, which has never been harvested, is New York City’s oldest. It is a place of more firsts and accolades than can be easily numbered. President Gregory Long calls it an advocate for the plant kingdom as well as a public museum without a roof.

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