With the recent rainy weather and unpredictable temperatures comes an exciting sign of spring: cherry blossoms. The blossom season only lasts about two weeks, occurring in the transition from April to May. Due to their brief appearance, the flowers have become a symbol of ephemerality, especially in Japanese culture. While there are a few cherry blossom trees in Washington Square Park, you can find these gorgeous trees throughout the city. Take a trip to one of these spots for a picnic, a day away from campus or a photo op for your next Instagram post.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
With over 70 trees on its Cherry Esplanade, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is likely the most popular place in New York to view cherry blossoms. Every spring, the garden hosts its famous Sakura Matsuri Festival to celebrate the new bloom. This year’s celebration takes place on April 28 and 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Over these two days, there are more than 60 Japanese cultural events and performances scheduled, including a traditional tea ceremony, Taiko drumming and a Japanese market. Check out the Garden’s Cherry Watch map on their website to plan your visit for when the blossoms are at their peak. A day ticket costs $25 for students and can be purchased online.
If you haven’t visited Central Park this spring, cherry blossom season is the perfect time. There are several spots within the 840-acre park to see the cherry blossoms, including the southeast edge of Great Lawn, west of the Metropolitan Museum of Art at East 83rd Street and on each side of the Reservoir. However, the best spot to see the blossoms is Cherry Hill, since it is blanketed in trees. Cherry Hill is the ideal spot to surround yourself with spring beauty while laying out in the sun.
Randall’s Island Park is located on the East River up by East Harlem. This island’s waterfront views of the Manhattan skyline offer a perfect backdrop for your photos year round, but it’s even more beautiful in the spring when the cherry trees are in full bloom. The trees can be found in thick rows on Fields 62 and 63, which are next to the park’s Urban Farm.
Madison Square Park
The Flatiron is an iconic landmark that is only made more beautiful by the bloom of the several cherry trees in Madison Square Park. If you’re not looking to take a day trip just to see cherry blossoms in another part of the city, Madison Square Park is only two stops away on the 6 train from Astor Place. Once you get there, grab a burger at the original Shake Shack, find a bench and people watch in the presence of several beautiful cherry blossoms.
Riverside Park Cherry Walk
The Riverside Park Cherry Walk consists of four continuous miles of cherry trees on the Upper West Side, located between 100th Street and 129th Street. The trail runs along the edge of the Hudson River and offers a scenic path for a run or leisurely walk.
New York Botanical Garden
Located in the Bronx next to Fordham University, the New York Botanical Garden is home to over 200 cherry trees with both white and pink flowers. A majority of the trees are located along the path in Cherry Valley; more can be found scattered throughout the Arthur and Janet Conifer Arboretum and on Daffodil Hill. The entire garden is covered with a variety of plant life and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A Grounds-Only Pass for students costs $7 with valid student ID.
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