This weekend was Sakura Matsuri, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. I’ve had my tickets for this event for weeks, and have been counting down the days. I dragged my roommate, Kate, along with me out to Brooklyn for The Naturalized New Yorker’s first ever non-Manhattan post!
Getting to the gardens is easy – it’s accessible from the Subway, so we hopped on the express 4/5 train and were there in just over a half hour. After that, it’s less than a 10 minute walk to the BBG entrance on Washington Avenue (we didn’t actually use a map or any directions, just followed the giant crowd all walking in the same way).
The line to get into the festival was absolute madness – luckily we had bought our tickets in advance, so we got to skip the majority of the line and go right on in. When you enter the gardens, you start by the visitor’s center on a path, which wraps around to the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. This spot was beautiful – it’s a serene pond (probably, when there’s not a million people around) with koi fish and some traditional Japanese-inspired architecture.
After looping around the pond, it brings you to the Shakespeare and Fragrance Gardens, which still hadn’t really bloomed yet, but were still beautiful. Then, you head into the library, greenhouses and Lily Pool Terrace, which had hundreds of beautiful tulips of every color and variety.
We didn’t see much of the programming hosted for the festival, like the Kabuki shows or the guided tours – everything was poorly labeled and a little hectic due to the crowd. Overall, I was really impressed with the beautiful trees, even though a man was telling us that many still haven’t bloomed because it’s been such a cold spring in New York.
So, if you’re sad you missed the festival last weekend, don’t worry. It sounds like the trees will be blooming for a few more weeks. Traditionally, the gardens have a 5-week span for cherry blossom season and keep and up-to-date map on their website of which areas have bloomed. And, instead of paying the festival entrance fee, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is cheaper for general entrance, and free every Tuesday.