As New York City continues to slowly reopen its cultural institutions, Wave Hill, a 28-acre public garden in the Bronx, will open its gates again on Thursday after being closed for nearly four months due to COVID-19 pandemic. The 170-year-old estate, which was given to the city of New York in 1960, has long provided New Yorkers with sweeping views of the Hudson River and the Palisades. Just as important for residents of the second loudest borough in the city, it's a place to immerse oneself in the sound of silence.

The outdoor oasis, with its sprawling gardens and a pergola laden with summer vines, was also one of the best meet-up spots for friends and families in the area before the pandemic.

Terry Roche lives about a block away and has been a member for about 12 years. “I never really had to make a plan about going to Wave Hill, I could just walk by and be there if I needed to make some notes for my garden at home or meet a friend. I want to check on plants by the conservatory to see how they are doing in the heat, and see how the plants have held up over the closure."

Admittance into the gardens must now be done ahead of time online in order to keep crowds down and to maintain social distance requirements. Tickets for reopening day and through the weekend have already sold out.

Courtesy of Wave Hill

Karen Meyerhoff, the executive director at Wave Hill, said she cried after going back for the first time and getting to see her favorite plants again.

"Nature doesn't stop for this... Nature continuing to do its thing has been one of the few constants during these times," said Meyerhoff. "The chaste tree is blooming lilac flowers again on a sunny wall by the garden’s pergola, and carnivorous pitcher plants in the Herb Garden are luring in their prey. Everything has been going on business as usual for the trees, and the flowers, and the birds, and the grounds, and that has been very reassuring."

The garden is offering free admittance for the first two weeks of its reopening, but will only be opened Thursday to Sunday. Face masks must be worn to enter the garden and when using a restroom with outside access, but can be removed once outside and when social distancing is possible. There is no onsite parking and shuttle service is currently suspended. You can reserve tickets at wavehill.org.