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Spring Is in the Air in New York City
Winter was rough. In fact, this year’s onslaught of snow, slush and way-too-wicked weather was nothing short of ridiculous. Thank goodness spring is here. In fact, it starts today!
And, as in seasons past, that means the alleged “concrete jungle” known as New York City actually begins to blossom. From street-friendly flower carts to Central Park, this city blooms with a cacophony of color in some of the most unexpected spaces and places. Here’s a quick guide to a few of the best spots in New York to tip toe through the tulips and other verdant gardens. While you're visiting some of the main attractions in New York, make some time to also stop by these lesser-known spots.
Macy's Flower Show: The Secret Garden
Macy’s is not only home to the very cool Official Visitors Center of New York City, but each and every spring it’s also the site for a spectacular floral show. Like annuals that sprout out of the sidewalk, this annual display rarely disappoints. This year, Macy's looked across the pond to the United Kingdom for inspiration for the 2014 Secret Garden display. Musical performances, floral-inspired manicures and handbag monogramming are all part of this incredibly cool and flowery festival.
Herald Square , 151 West 34th Street, March 23- April 6. Free.
The Medieval Garden at The Cloisters
High above the Hudson River and the neighboring George Washington Bridge sits a incredible garden that is home to the only species of herbal plants known to have been around way back in the Middle Ages. Yes, those Middle Ages! The Cloisters museum and gardens, which opened to the public in 1938, is the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. In keeping with the medieval architecture that inhabits this several-acre space, the herbs, fruits, and flowers growing in the gardens were transplanted across the Atlantic, traveling both across time and space to their nest-worthy home at The Cloisters.
Fort Tryon Park, 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays. Click here for a full schedule of events. New York CityPASS holders enjoy a same-week visit to the Cloisters as part of CityPASS admission to The Met.
The Shakespeare Garden, Central Park
Another wonderful and inspired NYC garden is The Shakespeare Garden in the midst of Central Park. There are many other similarly named gardens throughout the world, but there is nothing like this one—the most famous and perhaps the sweetest. In 1916, this garden plot was christened with the bard’s name in honor of the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Since then, it has been blooming with the type of flowers mentioned in his poems and plays, as well as ones you might have found in Willy’s own garden in Stratford-upon-Avon. Located just a few feet away from where you will find the annual Shakespeare In The Park summer series, the medieval-themed garden is cool and quite theatrical in its own right.
Enter Central Park from 79th Street and Central Park West. Free.
The Highline is one of this city’s most delightful and unpretentious of attractions. Not only will you see the city from a different vantage point, but also you will see an incredible array of art and flowers. In the spring, after the annual March “spring cutback,” this elevated one-mile long walkway features multi-level gardens where the sweetest of perky posies poke up among more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees.
Gansevoort Street, three blocks below West 14th Street, in the Meatpacking District, to 30th Street, through the neighborhood of Chelsea to north of the West Side Yard. Open for full seasonal hours from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on April 1. Access elevators are available at 14th and 16th Streets. Free.
West Side Community Gardens
This volunteer-run garden is one of the Upper West Side’s coolest and most unexpected surprises. The West Side Community Gardens Flower Park, maintained by a group of garden members and volunteers who show up each weekend to dig in the dirt, have transformed a once vacant, garbage-strewn lot into one of the most incredible gardens in all of New York City. Starting in March and continuing through May, this space is home to an annual display of 15,000 tulips.
89th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. Free.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
One of the best places to see the beauty that are cherry blossoms in full bloom is at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This is the time of year when this botanical garden “wakes up” with a bounty of colorful flowers including the fragrant double-blossom cherry trees, perhaps the most famous of blooms in all of Brooklyn. In fact, April at the garden is devoted to a celebration known as “Hanami,” where lucky visitors are encouraged to slow down and "enjoy each moment" of the spring cherry blossom season.
1000 Washington Ave, Brooklyn. Weekdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.