Fleeting moments under fluttering blossoms.
The clouds drift away
The sun warms the Earth’s soul
And spring’s pink snow appears
While we are writing this, NYC is under heavy spring showers. So, we have spent the day flipping through past travel photobooks. Hard to imagine that it has been 6 years since our trip to Kyoto during peak cherry blossom season. After the chill of winter, cherry blossoms are the manifestation of Mother Nature blushing at the caress of the warmer spring air. And nothing comes close to symbolizing the bittersweet transience of life quite like them. They bring a certain sadness that another year has passed by, a reminder of all the dreams that still remain unrealized. Yet, they also impart a certain joy at learning that a new year has arrived and all the promises that come with it. Below is a photographic collection of a few of our favourite spots to catch and contemplate the blossoms in NYC. They usually start to emerge in mid-April. Don’t forget to bring a sakura mochi and cookie from Cha-An Teahouse (pictured below) or a sakura cake from Harbs Teahouse to picnic under the trees, and to dream again of travelling around the world.
- Best cherry blossom spotting: The densest thicket of blossoms are wreathed around the rim of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Head there before noon (and ideally, on a weekday) to beat the crowds. Don’t miss a veritable tunnel of vibrant pink blossoms to the west of the Reservoir, and the paler blossoms near Bow Bridge.
- Secret flower tip: We also love the magnolia trees and tulip flower beds further north, around the Conservatory Garden.
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
- Best cherry blossom spotting: In pre-Covid days, there was an annual sakura festival held at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Unless claustrophobia is your cup of tea, we recommend visiting a week before or after, instead.
- Secret flower tip: There is a small, but stunning, peony garden that blooms around the same time and is near to the main thoroughfare. Look out for it, as well as for a patch of bluebells that momentarily transports you to fairy land.
- Best cherry blossom spotting: This is the one of the lesser known spots in NYC for a quiet weekend. It is also our go-to spot for pristine hills of snow in the winter. For an ultra-chill adventure, arrive and depart by ferry.
- Best cherry blossom spotting: One will also find cherry blossoms scattered around Greenwich Village, West Village, Upper West Side, Battery Park City, Williamsburg, Red Hook. They tend towards the white variety, rather than pinker tones.
- Secret flower tip: Located on a triangular wedge in the middle of the hustle and bustle of West Village, don’t miss the Jefferson Market Garden. If you hit it at the right time, you can sit under boughs of magnolia, with daffodils at your feet and birdsong in the air.
Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill
- Best cherry blossom spotting: If you want to see a cinematic version of New York – i.e. without the crowds, vagabonds, garbage strewn around – and experience it without the constant wail of sirens , visit our neighbourhood of Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill.
- Secret flower tip: You will also find pockets of serenity where sunlight filters in the most ethereal manner, adorned by beds of tulips, iris and lilies of the valley, and the oh-so-rare cascade of wisteria too.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Cha-An Tea House, East Village and Harbs Teahouse, Soho.
- ☑ Budget: $.
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Seasonal desserts.
- ☑ Must-eat: Pre-Covid, during the spring season, Cha-An Tea House offered sakura mochi or cookies, and we sampled a sakura mousse cake at Harbs Teahouse, layered with a red bean-embedded green tea sponge cake base. The former seems available again this year.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: Fleeting moments under fluttering blossoms.