March 2, 2016

A New York Spring Calendar: Blooming Times and Seasonal Events

(updated for 2016) At this time of year, thoughts turn to spring. Let's spring forward to blooming times, the best locations for witnessing spring's beginnings, and springtime events in the big city. While the occasional snow could blow through the city, we're just weeks now from callery pears in bloom and opening day at the ballpark.

In The Ramble, Central Park. Mid-April

Some of this information below has been posted here in previous years, but we can be somewhat reassured that some things stay perennial.

Blooming Times

• Central Park Conservancy's website lists blooming times within the park. During the month of March we begin to see crocus, daffodils, forsythia, snowdrops, witch-hazel, and hellebores. Species tulips will emerge in several places, but the Shakespeare Garden and Conservatory Garden are particularly good places to catch the beginning of Spring blooms.

Isham Park in the Inwood neighborhood. Mid-April

April is usually the month when full blooms appear in New York City, and this NYC Parks website provides a handy monthly guide to the specific locations of blooming trees, flowers, shrubs, and buds.

Celebrating the great beautiful flowering crabapples, this page on the NYC Parks site explains why you can't buy and plant a crabapple today and expect it to look as beautiful as those in Central Park.

• By late March or the first week of April, the callery pears should be in bloom, providing a soft white canopy on many New York streets. These trees can withstand urban pollution, but storms can wreak havoc on them.

Callery pear trees in bloom in front of the Rubin Museum of Art

High Line. Spring Cutback

• Check out The Orchid Show, a special presentation of a dazzling collection of orchids brought to you by The New York Botanical Garden in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road Bronx. The special show continues through April 27, 2016.

• Walking Off the Big Apple's favorite spring walk is wandering in the Ramble in Central Park and meeting the duck.

• The High Line (left) features plantings around the seasons.

• Million TreesNYC. See how you can help this citywide, public-private program to plant and care for one million new trees across the City's five boroughs over the next decade.

• Visit the Prospect Park Alliance website for interactive guides to the park, seasonal events, and more. When visiting in person, locate the park's Audubon Center for a quick orientation.

• While many of the city's parks sponsor events for the season, Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan offers particularly good fitness opportunities in a spectacular setting. Consult the Fort Tryon Park Trust website for more information.

At The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, late April.

• While in Fort Tryon Park, visit The Cloisters. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's medieval branch is one of the best places to see varieties of plants in bloom.

• For those seeking to understand the ecology of the city's landscapes, explore the Wildlife Conservation Society's Welikia project, the city-wide expansion of their popular Mannahatta.

• According to the Victory Seeds website, the average last frost in New York City is April 13.

Spring Events for March and April 2016

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, in late April
• The 22nd annual Armory Show, the city's big contemporary art fair, March 3-6, 2016. Piers 92 and 94 on the far West Side. Website.

• Daylight Saving Time begins March 13, 2016 at 2:00 a.m.

• Thursday, March 17, 2016 St. Patrick's Day Parade. Fifth Avenue, from 44th to 79th Streets. Begins at 11 a.m. Senator George J. Mitchell serves as this year's Grand Marshal. Consult this St. Patrick's Day post from 2012 that includes Walking Off the Big Apple's awesome bar and parade map, plus bonus Judy Garland song.

• Sunday, March 20, 2016
Palm Sunday, beginning of Holy Week
First Day of Spring
Opening Day and Blessing of the Rides, Coney Island. (NOTE: The opening of Coney Island this Sunday, the first day of Spring, has been POSTPONED to March 26 due to weather.)
Macy's Flower Show

Coney Island attractions open Sunday, March 20.

• Sunday, March 27, 2016. Easter Parade. Fifth Avenue, beginning near St. Patrick's Cathedral. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 49th to 57th Streets.

Easter Parade, Fifth Avenue.

• Monday, April 4, 2016. Home opener. Houston Astros at New York Yankees.  Yankee Stadium, Bronx. Official site.

• Monday, April 1, 2016 at 1:10 p.m. Home opener. Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets. Citi Field, Flushing, Queens. Official site.

• March 25-April 3, 2016. New York International Auto Show. Jacob Javits Center.

On the High Line, walking toward the Whitney Museum of American Art

• A preview and list of art exhibitions in NYC museums this spring, with openings in April and May. (Link to post on this website.)

• April 2, 2016. Pillow Fight Day. 3 p.m. Location TBA.

Pillow Fight Day
Spring silliness

• Wednesday, April 6. The first Wednesday in April is National Walking Day, an initiative of the American Heart Association to encourage the benefits of walking. Here at Walking Off the Big Apple, every day is walking day, weather permitting. Even then...

• Sunday, April 10, 2016. 1 pm. Greek Independence Day Parade. Fifth Avenue. 64th to 79th Streets.

• April 13 - April 24, 2016. Tribeca Film Festival. Some of the special events take place outdoors. Tickets on sale now.

• April 30 - May 1, 2016. 10 am - 6 pm, Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival - Sakura Matsuri 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Rain or shine. Free with admission. Celebration of Japanese culture and the blossoming of the garden's cherry trees. Also, consult the garden's Cherry Blossom Status Map for opportunities to visit.

Calla Lilies on Mulberry Street, Little Italy

Religious Holidays

• Purim begins at sundown on March 23, 2016 and ends the evening of March 24, 2016.

• Passover begins at sundown on April 22, 2016 and continues for 7 days until April 30, 2016.

• Easter Sunday falls on March 27, 2016.

First Day of Spring

• Vernal Equinox in New York City, First Day of Spring. March 20, 2016. 12:30 a.m. EDT

The Weather 

• The National Weather Service can and does predict the weather, issuing long-range maps and outlooks for the months ahead. Their monthly and seasonal color maps for the upcoming months indicates that New York City will see above average temperatures, not just for spring but for most months ahead. Precipitation runs normal. 

Animal Life

• Several good blogs and websites keep track of the city's animal life. Among them -  Urban Hawks is especially observant of the adventures of our red-tailed hawks; Out walking the dog, the work of a playwright living in Morningside Heights, tracks wildlife on her daily walks in the neighborhood but also keeps an eye out for news and events; and The City Birder is a good source of information for birdwatching in the big city. Follow the continuing adventures of the hawks in Washington Square Park and other areas with Roger Paw.

• New York City Birding: See the home page of NYC Audubon for events, trips, classes, and programs.

Birding in Central Park

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple. Clicking on the pictures above enlarges them. For a season-by-season guide to the city and suggested self-guided walks suitable for spring, please enjoy the NYC by Season page on this website.

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