Signs of Spring in NYC Parks
Here's to warmer temperatures, later sunsets, and blooming parks.
As springtime nears, our parklands welcome warblers and many other songbirds migrating into the city. The Ramble, a 36-acre wild garden in the middle of Central Park, is a favorite among birders for spotting spring migrants.
In early spring, piping plovers arrive on Rockaway Beach to court and nest. And it's not uncommon to see aerial courtship displays by red-tailed hawks in the beginning of spring. Ospreys also return to our parks in early spring to mate. These majestic birds mate for life and build their nests along coastlines, usually in very tall trees, and on light poles and utility poles.
As winter comes to an end, snowdrops emerge out of the frozen ground as one of the earliest signs of spring. This year, we spotted snowdrops in Prospect Park, Wave Hill, Central Park, and the New York Botanical Garden in mid-March. (Photo courtesy of Wave Hill)
The crocus is one of the first spring bulbs to pop up in some of our parks. This year, this purple beauty was first spotted at The High Line in mid-March. (Photo by the Friends of the High Line)
The cup-shaped flower vary in color: lilac, mauve, yellow, and white are most common.
When the weather warms up, usually in March, monarchs come out of hibernation and mate. After mating, they begin their trip to southern United States to lay their eggs on milkweed. Spot them in our gardens and among roadside plants.
Last spring, the magnolia trees were among the first to bloom in Central Park. This year, we've already spotted buds on the magnolia trees near the entrance to the Central Park Zoo!
NYBG's Orchid Show
The New York Botanical Garden ushers in spring with the return of the orchid show. This year's Chandelier exhibition, which runs through April 19, features orchids hanging inside the Haupt Conservatory, as well as dance performances, poetry, and hands-on orchid care demonstrations. Orchid show info
The Delacorte Clock chimes spring tunes
This musical clock is a favorite stop for kids walking through the southern end of Central Park. Listen to the Delacorte Clock's spring playlist, including songs like "Easter Parade" and "Younger than Springtime" on the half hour.
The Alice Austen House reopens
In addition to being a celebrated New York City photographer, Alice Austen (1866-1952) was also the founding member of the Staten Island Garden Club. Head to the borough's north shore to visit her 17th century cottage, a national historic landmark and treasure trove of vintage NYC photos. When in full bloom, the house's grounds and garden feature some of the same flowers Alice Austen enjoyed planting herself. Visit the Alice Austen House
Our greenhouses gear up for flower plantings
We're planting geraniums (left) and begonias (right) again at our gardens and parks around the city. Take a tour of the Forest Park Greenhouse
Salamanders congregate for a few days in early spring to mate and lay eggs in vernal pools. It is then a race against time for the aquatic, gilled larvae to transform into land-dwelling adults before the water dries in late summer. (Photo: Susan Stanley/NYC Parks)
Atlantic Coast leopard frogs
One of the first signs of spring in NYC is the cough-like breeding call of the newly-discovered Atlantic Coast leopard frog. This species was first recognized in Staten Island's freshwater marshes. Atlantic Coast leopard frogs live in northwest Staten Island, including in our own Sweetbay Magnolia Preserve in Staten Island Industrial Park.
New York City's official flower is no stranger to spring's bright colors. Wondering why there are so many daffodils around the city? In 2007, the daffodil was named the official flower of NYC in recognition of the Daffodil Project, a citywide initiative with New Yorkers for Parks to plant millions of daffodils as a living memorial of hope after the tragedies of September 11.
Baseball and cricket fields come alive
Spring blooms in NYC Parks
Our parks look so lovely dressed in spring. In a few weeks, our trees and gardens will blossom into pretty pinks and bright greens. Visit our Spring Blooms page to see highlights of past springs.