We all have that dream to see the famous cherry blossoms in Japan. It is a good to know that not only in Japan but also elsewhere such as New York that cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Sakura in Japanese, these hybrid pink and white flowering trees are grown for their beauty like something out of a dream. In my recent trip to New York City, I thought of visiting a place that is something underrated and away from Manhattan. My couchsurfing host suggested me to take a subway to Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I was not disappointed, it’s my first time seeing real Sakuras. It was late April, just when the cherry blossoms were at their best. It is one of those New York Experiences that has gotten better with time.
Forget about Central Park for now, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has got to be one of my favorite parks in New York during spring season. BBG hosts its hugely popular event called “Sakura Matsuri Festival” (cherry blossom festival) in spring. It is a two-day event showcasing Japanese culture with musical performances, arts, costumes exhibits and much more.
To be honest, I didn’t witness the prestigious festival. The entrance to the garden is not free and during the event it was expensive (I think it was $25). So I went there the weekend following the Sakura Matsuri to be able to get away with the crowd and to save extra cash. I was so lucky I found the best weekend to be there, the weather was perfect, tulips and all other flowers were in a peak of blooming too. They were so beautiful and it was free. Ok, let me tell you a hack each visitor should know, it is free admission on Saturdays if you get inside before 12noon. Also, it is free every Tuesdays and all days during the winter season. If you are traveling to New York, you might ask about the best time to see the cherry blossoms on its peak. It’s in April around a week before or after the festival. Remember, full sakura petals last only a week or two. I would definitely recommend to see it before the flowers start falling and the leaves start to come out. It is magical!
In Japanese culture for hundreds of years, cherry blossoms tree has played a significant role. It represents the fragility and the beauty of life. Its blooming flowers and short-lived season are a reminder that life is beautiful, but is also tragically short.
The garden is huge, one of the main buildings houses the Conservatory where they have bonsai trees, orchids, a tropical rain-forest garden and a cactus garden. My favorite area as you stroll throughout the garden is the Japanese Hill and Pond where many koi fishes and turtles swim around with a torii showing it’s reflection on the water. This place is visually fantastic and yet so serene which is perfect for photo enthusiast like me. It feels like you are in Japan. At one side of the park, you have an educational space where kids can play and learn about nature. There was also a garden full of sprouting tulips and roses.
Getting there was easy by subway, it was right next to a stop. Bonus was that it’s right next door to the Brooklyn Museum easy to get to via 2,3,4,5, B, Q, and S trains as well as buses. So if Brooklyn Museum is on your list make sure not to missed Brooklyn Botanic Garden. You are hitting two birds with one stone. General admission ticket of the garden is 12$ on regular days (6$ if you have a student ID card). Entry is free if you have a New York Pass.
I highly recommend everyone a visit here. A wonderful getaway from the noise and bustle of New York.