Harvest Fest at the Queens Botanical Garden – Flushing, Queens – October 16, 2016
Autumn is my favorite season. I thoroughly enjoy butternut and spaghetti squash, apples and cider, and yes, all things pumpkin. I love the vibrant colors of the changing leaves. So, I was excited to attend the Harvest Fest at the Queens Botanical Garden this past weekend. This small, but lovely, garden is in Flushing, and it is part of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park complex.
One of the many interesting activities at the Harvest Fest was learning about beekeeping from the Garden’s head beekeeper. She talked about every aspect of beekeeping imaginable, and beekeeping runs in her family! Her father kept bees as well. She gave the entire demonstration without any protective gear on to show that bees are nothing to fear. The presentation was quite interesting, and the only disappointing part was there was no honey tasting since the event was so large.
While it was a large event, there were only a handful of food vendors. Unfortunately, the Beer and Wine Garden was in the middle of a grassy field, so I was unable to get to it in my wheelchair. This shows that the planners may not have completely considered the interests of attendees with disabilities.
My husband and I ate bao (pronounced bow like cow, Chinese buns) from C Bao (I have had their food once before at the Queens Night Market). We shared a Peking duck bao and a beef bao. The buns were light and fluffy, and both came with crispy sliced scallions. The duck was perfectly gamy, but this time, as compared to my last taste at the Queens Night Market, the majority of the flavor came from the sauce. It was salty, savory, and sweet. While it was good, I would have liked for more of the duck’s flavor to shine. The beef was tender, and as opposed to the duck, its flavor was more than present.
Nyota’s Ting offered vegetarian and vegan options, along with fish tacos with a twist. We had a fish taco and a green salad. The fish was tender, flaky, and fried beautifully. It had bright crunchy vegetables along with a white sauce and a salsa. The salsa was surprising. It was sweet from pineapple. This touch brought an unexpected level of flavor and balance to the taco. The salad had all kinds of fresh greens, red cabbage, and tomatoes in a sweet onion dressing. The dressing was just sweet enough to balance the flavors from the vegetables without overpowering them.
Accessibility Rating for Harvest Fest at the Queens Botanical Garden
I used my wheelchair to visit Harvest Fest at the Queens Botanical Garden.
- Entryway – 5: We entered the garden through the main gate on Main Street. The transition from the sidewalk into the garden was smooth as we passed through the wide gate. There are no stairs.
- Bathroom (Men’s bathrooms at the Visitor’s Center) – 5: There are two sets of bathrooms at the Visitor’s Center (ground level and downstairs). There is a ramp to the lower bathrooms. Each bathroom has one large accessible stall. The lock on the door of the stall in the downstairs Men’s room was not working during my visit. There are long grab bars that wrap around two sides of the toilets in each stall. The bathrooms are brightly lit, and I was easily able to make a 180° turn inside the stalls and the bathrooms. I was able to fit underneath the sink in each bathroom, which have automatic sensors on the faucets.
- Walkways/Space – 2: All of the main pathways in the garden are paved and smooth. That being said, for this event many things, like the Beer and Wine Garden, were put in places that were inaccessible to many users of mobility assistive devices. As mentioned earlier, this may show a lack of consideration and forethought for members of the disability community. The event was brightly lit since it was outside, and it was noisy from loud talking and loud music.
Video Description: Video shows expansive field where much of the Harvest Fest took place. There are several food stands, a stage with a band performing in the distance, some tall trees around the field’s perimeter, and people walking, sitting, talking, and eating throughout.
- Staff – 1: Not one staff member of the garden nor any of the vendors made any offers of help to me as it pertained to my disability. This may be indicative that the staff may require more training as it relates to meeting the needs of visitors with disabilities.
- Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.