PROSPECT-LEFFERTS GARDENS — The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and city officials were seeding a hundreds-strong audience at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens' new visitors center with a flowerbed's worth of herbacious puns.
"It’s easy to toss bouquets to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking at a garland-cutting ceremony to inagurate the new 20,000 square foot center. "After all, for more than 100 years, this delightful urban oasis has been one of the most important places anywhere on earth for learning about and getting a deeper appreciation for plants of every shape and color and size."
The mayor joined officials including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, garden representatives and scores of local luminaries to celebrate the center's grand opening Wednesday morning after more than three years of construction.
The curved glass structure that will now welcome visitors at the Classon Avenue entrance was designed by New York architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi, and features a 10,000 square foot living roof sown with more than 40,000 plants.
"BBG is one of Brooklyn’s premier tourist destinations, attracting visitors from around the world like bees to honey," Markowitz said. "The visitor center is exactly what we need. Now Brooklyn can welcome national and international visitors to this garden with an entrance fit for a king."