Signs of Spring in NYC Parks
It's springtime in New York City! Take a look at our spring tracker's timeline of some of the signs of spring to look for while you're out in our parks.
A checkmark will appear and the image will brighten when a sign of spring is discovered in 2022. 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 and Washington Square Park in late January.
The presence of woodcocks also known as "timberdoodles" is a sign that their spring migration to the north has begun. A woodcock was spotted in Bryant Park in mid-February. Their peak arrival time is usually around mid-March. And, as springtime nears, our parklands will welcome warblers, songbirds, and many more feathered friends migrating to NYC. Please help birds safely migrate through the city by making your windows bird-safe. Add decals to your windows and turn off lights at night.
The crocus is one of the first spring bulbs to bloom in our parks. Many regard the crocus as the true first sign of spring. This year, crocuses were spotted on The High Line and in Brooklyn Botanic Garden in late February.
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 March 2. This year, hellebores were spotted in bloom at Cobble Hill Park in late February.
Many New Yorkers look to the blossoming of daffodils—NYC's official flowers—as a sure sign that springtime is arriving in NYC. This year, a daffodil was spotted in Morningside Park in late February!
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”.
The Washington Square Park Eco Projects reported Cornelian cherry trees (actually part of the dogwood family) in bloom in Washington Square Park during the first week of March this year. Their blossoms look like clouds of mustard, like these Cornelian cherry tree blooms at Prospect Park years back.
Red Maple Trees
Red maple trees are usually one of the first trees to bloom in NYC, usually around early March. Look for tiny red buds on the branches. This year, we spotted red maple trees starting to bloom in Central Park during the second week of March. Use the NYC Street Tree Map to find a red maple tree near you.
Spring Forward: Daylight Saving Time
Time sprung forward one hour on Sunday, March 13, 2022! We're looking forward to lots of daylight hours and late sunsets!
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). This year, okame cherry trees started blooming in Riverside Park just days away from the first day of spring. This year, we welcomed yoshino cherries on the first day of April at Central Park, Washington Square Park, and in Astoria. Yoshino cherry bloosoms are followed by the kwanzan cherry blossoms. This year, Kwanzan cherry trees were spotted in bloom in mid-April at Washington Square Park and Union Square Park. Check out the best parks to see cherry blossoms
For many New Yorkers, it's officially springtime in NYC when magnolia trees are in bloom. This year, star magnolias (which usually have white or pink and white flowers) were spotted in bloom in Central Park the day after the first day of spring! Saucer magnolias were spotted in bloom in Union Square Park during the first week of spring. Their flowers are pink and much larger.
At its peak, these pretty lavender-blue flowers blanket the woodland floors at Wave Hill, adding a magical experience to walking around the garden grounds. In late March of this year, our friends at Wave Hill reported that the glory-of-the-snow flowers are blossoming.
Callery pear trees are one of the most common species of street trees in NYC. Their blossoms are clusters of tiny, snow-white flowers. This year, Callery pears started blossoming around Midtown in 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. This year, we spotted blossoming crabapple trees in Central Park in mid-April.
Tulip season usually peaks around late April to early May, adding pops of colors along our walkways. This year, we spotted early-blooming tulips in Central Park and Riverside Park.
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 flowers on an eastern redbud in Carl Schurz Park in mid-April.
These unique "flowers" (the petal-like structures are actually leaves) vary in color from white to pink to pale red. This year, the dogwoods were "in bloom" in Central Park in late April.
Azalea flowers were spotted in bloom at Madison Square Park in early May last year!
As the trees leaf out and summer begins to arrive, so do alliums! These flowering onions look like pom-poms when in bloom. Randall's Island Park has a beautiful display of alliums that were in bloom by late May last year.
Look out for tiny violets dotting our parks with their beauty in late spring as we begin to welcome a new season of flowers.