Bay Ridge has plenty of lovely parks that are perfect for a family portrait. But the loveliest of these, by far, is the Narrows Botanical Garden along Shore Road. In case you haven’t made the trek down to the tip of Brooklyn, I have photos from Mary and Chris’s Narrows Botanical Garden family portrait session to prove to you that it is worth the trip here. This little stretch of park always has something in bloom, from gorgeous flowers to children’s smiles.
Narrows Botanical Garden Family Portrait Session – Planning
I have been photographing Mary and Chris’s family since their twins were born (see photos from our first session here). It has been such a pleasure to see their little ones grow up, and I can’t believe the kids are almost four years old! I usually do two sessions a year with Mary and Chris: one session close to home that includes both sets of grandparents, and one more adventurous shoot with just the children. (Check out photos from our last portrait sessions while apple picking and at Fort Tilden Beach.)
I have taken photos at Mary and Chris’s home in Bay Ridge many times, but for this session Mary was looking for something different. She wanted to remain in the same neighborhood since the grandparents were within walking distance. I suggested the Narrows Botanical Garden, as I had used this little slice of park for photos with Miriam and Chaim’s newborn son.
About the Narrows Botanical Garden
The Narrows Botanical Garden has been in bloom for over 20 years. The first roots of the park were planted in 1995 by two local gardeners – James Johnson and Joan Regan. What had previously been a dumping ground for trash, grew into the beautiful community space we have today. (You can read more about the history of the Narrows Botanical Garden on the sites website, here.)
The garden is run entirely by volunteers and includes several unique features. These include a native plant sanctuary, lily pond, zen garden, and old and modern rose gardens. The goal of the garden is to, ‘educate and inform the community about the natural world and to foster knowledge and interest about plants and animals.’
Narrows Botanical Garden Family Portrait Session – At the Park
During our session on a Sunday afternoon in June, the park was fairly crowded, though certainly not to the extent of Prospect Park or Central Park. We concentrated our photographic efforts on a little niche in the garden near the 72nd Street entrance. This spot was fairly private and surrounded on all sides by bushes. Our location prevented any view of cars, ugly black fences, and of course, other visitors.
As with all my shoots, we started by focusing on the kids alone, and then together. The next step was to add in the parents, and then switch off with grandparents. We even added photos with Mary’s sister and brother-in-law.
Beyond The Garden
Mary and Chris’s did not prioritize the waterfront in their session, but you could certainly venture over to the American Veterans Memorial Pier for a superb view of the New York Bay. Located at the end of Bay Ridge Avenue, this is your best spot for a clear view of the Verrazano Bridge. If you want to add another park to your Bay Ridge adventure, you can always head over to Owl’s Head Park to the north, or down to John Paul Jones Park right by the bridge.
I am a huge fan of the Bay Ridge area because it feels like such a close-knit community. People who live in the area have been here for years, and there is an overall chill ambience that you just can’t find elsewhere in Brooklyn. Native Brooklynites know that Bay Ridge is a great place to call home.
Enjoy the images, and I’ll have more photo adventures for you next week!
Hey, Brooklyn! Are you interested in scheduling a Narrows Botanical Garden family portrait session of your own? Drop me a line and let’s talk about your photography needs.
If you would like to view more images from my family portrait portfolio, then please visit my website — www.KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com