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Cherry Blossom Festival – NYC 2021
April 25 - April 26Free
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In the springtime from April to May, the cherry blossom trees in Central Park attract nature lovers from all over the world. It’s easy to see why, as the splendor of their blooms is as stunning as it is explosive. Full bloom of the cherry blossom trees is a sight to behold, and it’s typically reached within a week after the first buds open. Symbolic of the fleeting nature of life, their season is short-lived and the blossoms stick around for just a short time longer before their delicate petals fall to the ground, covering in a blanket of pink and white.
Locations of the Cherry Blossom Trees
The cherry blossom trees in Central Park can be found mainly between 72nd Street and 96th Street, with the highest concentrations around the Reservoir, Cherry Hill, Pilgrim Hill, Great Lawn, Cedar Hill, and the area just south of Cedar Hill between 74th and 77th Streets.
There are two main species of cherry trees in Central Park. These are the Kwanzan Cherry and the Yoshino Cherry. The peak bloom time for each varies annually and depends on the weather.
Yoshino Cherry Trees
The Yoshino Cherry Trees in Central Park were brought to the U.S. as a gift from Japan in 1912. This hybrid cherry, which can reach heights of 35 to 45 feet, produces light pink, almost white, slightly fragrant flowers. Expect to see the first buds of these trees blossoming ahead of any other. Before the leaves appear, the simple five-petal flowers emerge in clusters of five or six. As the tree’s leaves grow, they typically develop first as a bronze color, later changing to a darker green as the summer approaches.
Top 5 Places for Yoshino Cherry Trees:
- Reservoir (east and west sides)
- Cherry Hill
- Pilgrim Hill
- Nell Singer Lilac Walk (northeast of Sheep Meadow)
- Delacorte Theater
Kwanzan Cherry Trees
The Kwanzan Cherry, also known as the Japanese Cherry, is an ornamental cherry tree most commonly found in Japan, Korea and China. This particular tree has double-petal pink flowers, which start to bloom in early May, after the Yoshino Cherry. When these trees first bloom, their leaves are bronze colored and then turn from dark green to yellow to orange, and finally copper in autumn. These trees are fairly small, growing to reach 25 to 30 feet, and have a wide vase-shaped spreading crown. The life span of the Kwanzan Cherry, which does not produce fruit, is 15 to 25 years.
Top 5 Places for Kwanzan Cherry Trees:
- Reservoir (east and west sides)
- Cedar Hill
- The Glade (just south of Cedar Hill between 74th & 77th Streets)
- Behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Great Lawn
There are several festivals worldwide that celebrate these types of cherry blossom trees, known for their dramatic beauty. In New York City there is the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which typically takes place in April or May.