As fate would have it, some of the dreamiest real estate in New York City is also its tiniest. From Bryant Park to the gardens of one of Manhattan’s grandest cathedrals, the beekeeping villages of America’s premier metropolis aren’t always where you’d expect, and it can take a keen eye to spot them amongst the skyscrapers and the cemetery plots (yup, there’s a bee village in a cemetery). That’s why we’ve whittled down a guide of our absolute favourites…
The Bees of Wall Street
A stone’s throw from the insanity of the Stock Exchange is a the Battery Park bee village, whose architecture style is an adorable nod to the Netherlands and the area’s Dutch roots. The houses are painted a custard yellow, and would have a view of the Statue of Liberty if they weren’t for their pint-sized proportions.
Battery Park, NY, 10004 (across from the U.S. Coast Guard Recruitment Centre).
The Holy Honey of St. John the Divine
Nectar worthy of Jesus himself — or at least New Yorkers. The church’s bees arrived in 2012 as the latest residents to St. John’s veritable Garden of Eden, which boasts cherry blossom trees, a fountain, and a variety of peacocks “who go by Jim, Harry, and Phil,” says a cathedral representative, “They roam the grounds freely on their dinosaur feet, displaying their lustrous tails with the seasons. They are most vocal in the spring, when their cries compete with the Amsterdam Avenue traffic…”
In total, the cathedral’s grounds reign over 11-acres of the otherwise hectic Uptown area, and a visit to its gardens is a welcome respite in an place that feels a bit like strolling through a European, follie-filled park; there’s even “a 40 foot-high gothic spire of carved stone,” says a cathedral representative, whose “four sides bear reliefs of an eagle, a winged lion, a winged ox, and an angel.”
In case you’re wondering, the bees themselves — all 15,000 of the Apis melliflera variety — have been blessed by the Reverend Mark Sisk. They’re “a gentle and mild-tempered species”, says the representative, and the hives has been dubbed “BeeVillage: The Divine.” 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street New York, NY 10025. Visit their website for more information.
The High Society Bees
Bryant Park will not only be the go-to spot for Fashion Week runways, but, as of last month, 3 million more honeybees. The site unveiled its Apiary last spring, and even offers courses in beekeeping-101 to the public.
“I think that beekeeping in general is a positive thing, and I think that having well managed colonies in other parks would be of great value to the community,” said beekeeper-in-residence Andrew Coté, who is a bit of a worldly crusader when it comes to bees. “In Moldova I found bees, in Japan I found bees, I always found bees, even in Alaska,” he told The Epoch Times, “There is beekeeping everywhere.But I’m the only one in New York City who is a full-time beekeeper.”
It’s worth keeping tabs on Bryant Park’s happenings, which not only include courses in beekeeping, but flower crown-making gatherings, yoga, and more. Located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan, 10018. Visit their website here.
The Goth Bees of Green-Wood Cemetery
The Green-Wood Cemetery calls their honey, “The Sweet Hearafter”, and jars of their liquid gold are only made in very small batches. You can also only buy it on-site, but a visit to the ornate cemetery is worth the trek…
The views of the Manhattan are bar-none, and the beautiful mausoleums could give Paris’ cemeteries a run for their money…
“We have 560,000 residents, and we’re constantly talking about our history,” the manager of programs, Chelsea Dowell, told Bklyner, “But we talk a little less about Green-Wood as a landscape. That’s something we’re turning to, and these bees are an interesting part of it.” Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232.
To find out more about NYC Beekeeping visit www.nycbeekeeping.org . The waitlist for beekeeping training programs are now open, and meets approximately once a month for 10 sessions, February through November. If you are free some weekdays, you may want to apply for Field Studies Group or apply as a volunteer.
You can also keep up with the New York bees with their own Twitter account.