Signs of Spring in NYC Parks
The first day of spring is Saturday, March 20, 2021
Staten Island Chuck predicted early spring! Here are some of the signs of spring to look for in New York City:
A checkmark will appear and the image will brighten when a sign of spring is discovered in 2021. This timeline is subject to change.
As winter winds down, snowdrops emerge out of the frozen ground, usually in January or early February, as one of the earliest signs of spring. This year, snowdrops were spotted in Central Park in early January and The Battery around mid-January. The Washington Square Park Conservancy spotted their first snowdrops on January 22.
A timberdoodle was spotted in Bryant Park in early February last year! The presence of woodcocks also known as "timberdoodles" is a sign that their spring migration to the north has begun. Their peak arrival time is usually around mid-March. As springtime nears, our parklands welcome warblers, songbirds, and many more feathered friends migrating to NYC.
Hellebores aka Lenten Roses
Hellebores commonly blossom in the middle of winter. Although not really a sign of spring, it is a sign that spring is near! Hellebores are also called Lenten roses because their petals usually open up around the 40-day Lent which starts on February 17 this year. Last year, Madison Square Park Conservancy shared a photo of budding hellebores in early February and our gardeners spotted other varieties of hellebores in bloom earlier!
The crocus is one of the first spring bulbs to bloom in our parks. Last year, crocuses were first spotted in Central Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in early to mid-February.
Many New Yorkers look to the blossoming of daffodils—NYC's official flowers—as a sure sign that springtime is arriving in NYC. Last year, we spotted daffodils in bloom in mid-February at East River Park and Morningside Park.
This musical clock is a favorite stop for kids walking by the Central Park Zoo. On March 2, the clock switched to its spring playlist, featuring songs such as “It Might As Well Be Spring” and “Easter Parade”.
Red Maple Trees
Red maple trees are usually one of the first trees to bloom in NYC, usually around early March. Last year, we spotted buds on a red maple tree at The Pond in Central Park in late February. Look for tiny red buds on the branches. Use the NYC Street Tree Map to find a red maple tree near you!
Last year, we spotted buds on a Cornelian cherry tree (actually part of the dogwood family) at Central Park in late February. Our friends at the Washington Square Park Conservancy reported Cornelian cherry trees in bloom in early March.
These pretty lavender-blue flowers were first spotted in bloom at Carl Schurz Park in early March last year. At its peak, these pretty lavender-blue blanket the woodland floors at Wave Hill, adding a magical experience to walk around the garden grounds. Last year, our friends at Wave Hill spotted glory-of-the-snow flowers starting to bloom during the second week of March.
NYC's cherry trees are the highlight of spring! The most commonly-spotted cherry tree species in NYC include kwanzan (pink and double-flowered), yoshino (tiny white flowers that smell like almonds), and okame (tiny deep pink flowers with a reddish-brown calyx that encloses the petals). Last year, okame cherry trees bloomed in Central Park during the first week of March. Yoshino cherry were first spotted in bloom at Hunter’s Point South Park at the end of March; and kwanzan cherry blossoms were spotted in bloom in early April.
Spring Forward: Daylight Saving Time
On Sunday, March 14, 2021, time springs forward one hour. This means more daylight hours and later sunsets!
Azalea flowers were spotted in bloom in Central Park during the second week of March!
For many New Yorkers, it's officially springtime in NYC when magnolia trees in Central Park are in bloom. Last year, star magnolias first bloomed in Central Park during the second week of March. Saucer magnolias were in full bloom by early April.
Callery pear trees are one of the most common species of street trees in NYC. Their blossoms are clusters of tiny, snow-white flowers. Last year, Callery pears across NYC were in full bloom as of late March.
Crabapple trees bloom single or double-digit white, pink, or purple clusters of sweet-smelling blossoms on the tree's gnarled, craggy branches. Last year, we spotted crabapple trees in bloom at Riverside Park in early April.
Unlike all the other flowering plants, eastern redbud flowers grow directly from the branches (not from stems)! Their unique lavender-pink clusters of flower buds look like pom-poms on its branches. Last year, we spotted buds on these trees at Stuyvesant Square in mid-April last year.
Tulip season peaks around late April to early May, adding pops of colors along our walkways as spring turns into summer weather. Last year, tulip season arrived at Gateway Triangle in mid-April.
These unique flowers (the petal-like structures are actually leaves) vary in color from white to pink to pale red, and usually blossoms in April.