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With Covid spiking, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Lightscape offers outdoor retreat

December 21, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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With so many indoor venues closing, there’s one outdoor attraction that still offers healthy family entertainment for Brooklynites, and indeed, for all New York residents. It’s Lightscape at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, an after-dark, illuminated spectacular that celebrates the beauty of winter with a festive trail winding through a 52-acre landscape.

Lightscape takes visitors on an outdoor trail animated by over one million lights, with monumental light sculptures, festive music, and magical views around every turn. Many of the colorful light displays highlight the Garden’s trees.

International show-stoppers like the Winter Cathedral tunnel, Fire Garden and Sea of Light, as well as new works by NYC-based artists, including Jacqueline Woodson and Shakiem Reed, Jacob M Fisher and Challenge Your Imagination, have been captivating sold-out audiences since Lightscape opened in November. 

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The exhibit also features new site-specific light works by local artists, all accompanied by a curated soundtrack along the way.

The installation uses more than 1 million lights along a 1-mile-long path utilizing 60,000 pea lights (small lights, usually in strings), 630 lighting fixtures, 600 strands of lights and 60 gobos (Go Between Optics). A gobo is an object placed inside or in front of a light source to control the shape of the emitted light and its shadow.

A striking, multicolored installation, featuring Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s trees, that can be seen as part of Lightscape. Photo courtesy of BBG

There will be 14,000 glowing orbs of lights, a 98-foot-long Winter Cathedral tunnel, 42 sculptures, five poems by Jacquelyn Woodson projected in light, 20 treetop Wisp kinetic sculptures, 12 Pampas grass sculptures and more.

“Sea of Light by Ithaca,” an award-winning company of light artists, sound designers, composers, editors, and experimenters based in the UK, is an animated light installation that will cover Cherry Esplanade with breathtaking views from the Robert W. Wilson Overlook.

“Winter Cathedral” by Mandylights, a multidisciplinary production and lighting design house based in the UK and Australia, is a nearly 100-foot tunnel adorned with tens of thousands of individual LED lights. Guests will enter the installation—with a shape based on a traditional Gothic arch—at one end and walk through to the smaller tapered exit on the other side. This immersive, welcoming tunnel of warm light is equally spectacular when viewed from the inside or out. 

Other attractions will include the Fire Garden, produced by Ashley Bertling, which uses custom-made structures to fill the garden with real fire (from candles) accompanied by seasonal music; and Laser Pond, designed by Fog-Man, in which lasers beam across the water in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden in time to music, taking the surface reflection with them and creating shapes that rise into the sky.

Through Jan. 1, visitors can also enjoy seasonal treats including holiday cosmos and specialty chocolate bark, as well as hot cocoa, mulled wine, savory snacks, s’mores, and more during an enchanting evening outside.

Lightscape is open every day through January 2, except Christmas Day. The season’s final shows run January 6–9. Open from 4:30 until 9:30 p.m. (last entry at 8:30 p.m.)

Non-member regular admission tickets are $34 for adults and $18 for children ages 3–12. BBG member regular admission tickets are $30 for adults and $16 for children ages 3–12. Children 2 and under enter free. Tickets are available here

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