Where to View Cherry Blossoms in NYC
Where to view Cherry Blossoms in NYC
NYC cherry blossoms annually usher in the spring season. NYC cherry blossoms might lack the fame of their Washington D.C. counterparts, but they are equally as effervescent. NYC cherry blossoms can be found in all five boroughs: in parks, near museums, and even on brownstone-lined streets. Keep your eyes open and you’ll find yourself amongst the fluttering, pink leaves of NYC cherry blossoms. Here are some of the places to see NYC cherry blossoms.
The very first cherry trees in New York were planted in Sakura Park. “Sakura” means “cherry tree.” These very first cherry blossoms in NYC were gifts from Japan. In 1912, Japan gave 3,020 sakura cherry trees to the United States. 2,000 of these cherry trees were planted in New York City. While the trees arrived in 1912, they were actually given to the city in 1909 as a gift from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York as part of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration.
The most famous of all NYC cherry blossoms are found at Central Park’s Cherry Hill. Cherry Hill is the ideal spring and summer picnic destination, and it’s especially popular when the Yoshino cherry trees are in bloom. Cherry Hill is connected to the 72nd street drive and is often full of horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs trying to give you a ride around Central Park. The centerpiece of Cherry Hill is a fountain that many mistake as the fountain from the opening title sequence of Friends, but it’s actually simply a former drinking fountain for horses. While you admire the Yoshino cherry trees, feel free to take a seat on one of the park benches overlooking the lake, relax, and enjoy the view.
NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDENS
The New York Botanical Garden welcomes the earliest days of spring with their annual orchid show and then welcomes the blossoms of 200 cherry trees in April. Cherry walk has a diverse planting of cherry trees along the curving Cherry Collection path.
In the borough of Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden hosts the Brooklyn Cherry Blossom Festival. This festival is a delightful pink, white, and fuschia celebration, mixed with Japanese culture. There will even be performances by Taiko drummers. The main festivities take place around the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s Japanese Hill, where cherry blossoms dating as far back as 1921 delight onlookers. Guests are invited to bring a picnic basket and luxuriate in the sights and sounds.
The Brooklyn Botanical Garden is also offering a special, nighttime NYC cherry blossom event. Hanami Nights will take place April 25 and 26, from 5 to 9 p.m. There will be live music and specialty food and drinks to enjoy while you wander through Cherry Esplanade, lit up with ephemeral beauty.
SNUG HARBOR CULTURAL CENTER
If you ever need an excuse to visit Staten Island, it’s the cherry blossom trees at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. The Snug Harbor Cultural Center hosts the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, which is one of two authentic, classical, outdoor Chinese gardens built in the United States. Fun fact: no nails or glue were used in the construction of the garden. All of the physical elements are held together with a traditional Chinese construction system known as mortise-and-tenon. While the NYC cherry blossoms were gifts from the Japanese, the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden is lined with shimmering sakura trees. These cherry blossoms create the perfect backdrop for photos.
Roosevelt Island is a peaceful and lesser-known spot to see NYC cherry blossoms. Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park bursts with stunning cherry blossoms each year. In the past, Roosevelt Island has hosted a cherry festival, but it’s still on hiatus from the pandemic. That being said, it’s totally worth hopping on the Roosevelt Island Tram to see these NYC cherry blossoms in a serene setting. Plus, you’ll be able to cross “Ride the Roosevelt Island Tram” off of your NYC bucket list.
PELHAM BAY PARK
Pelham Bay Park is NYC’s largest park by far. It’s actually almost two and a half times the size of Central Park! Pelham Bay Park is home to hiking trails, picnic areas, and even a beach! On the south side of Pelham Bay Park, you’ll be treated to an array of dreamy cherry blossoms. While you’re at Pelham Bay Park, enjoy two golf courses, several playgrounds, and fabulous birdwatching!
FLUSHING MEADOWS CORONA PARK
Flushing Meadows Corona Park was home to the 1964 World’s Fair and one of the most famous scenes in the hit movie Men in Black. Its most noticeable feature is the Unisphere sculpture, towering more than 100 feet into the sky. Each spring, the Unisphere is surrounded by a parade of NYC cherry blossoms, making the area even more stunning. Every year, Flushing Meadows Corona Park hosts an annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival which features Taiko drummers, Japanese folk dance, and even a tea ceremony. Entry is free!
FORT TRYON PARK
Upper Manhattan is an undiscovered jewel of the city. Fort Tryon Park is a bit of a local secret. It hosts events such as the annual Medieval Festival and is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters Museum. Fort Tryon Park’s Heather Garden is beautiful any time of year but is especially breathtaking in the spring when the small grove of cherry trees bloom.
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