Exploring NYC: Spring Flowers in Central Park

Blooms amid the grime in the New York City springtime

Central Park, New York City, where bright yellow forsythia disguises passing yellow taxis. / Photo by E. A. Wright
Central Park, New York City, where bright yellow forsythia disguises passing yellow taxis. / Photo by E. A. Wright
Magnolias bloom in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright
Magnolias bloom in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright
A fallen blossom in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright
A fallen blossom in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright

Magnolias and Cherries in Central Park

In early April in Central Park, spring struggles for a foothold.

The weather is erratic, and even when an unusually temperate day dawns, it's hard to pretend it is summer already. The little details are all wrong: the drinking fountains in the park as still shut off for the season and the lawns and the ball fields are bare and gated.

Spring may be a mere mirage at this point, but this makes spring's first flowers all the more welcome.

Tiny narcissus and crocuses poke above ground, and then magnolias unfurl and blossoms speckle the branches of tree after tree, as the landscape alters day by day.

The first 60 degree Saturday is sure to draw crowds with beach blankets, picnic lunches and a determination to go without coats and jackets even as the wind starts to blow cold and colder. (I've been among them.)


A single, pink magnolia bud is about to bloom in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright
A single, pink magnolia bud is about to bloom in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright
Pink and white blossoms light up the landscape of Central Park on a gray day / Photo by E. A. Wright
Pink and white blossoms light up the landscape of Central Park on a gray day / Photo by E. A. Wright

Brave the rain, own Central Park for a day

A light, cold drizzle and a deep gray afternoon sky can mean a chance to explore Central Park without the crowds.

One particular stretch of mid-April showers gave me a chance to preview May's flowers in near solitude in the middle of Manhattan.

The day was fit for hot cocoa indoors, as most tourists and New York City residents must have concluded. As I followed a route starting at the southwest corner of the park and snaking northeast toward the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the only others on the walking paths in Central Park were a few lone figures with cameras, coats and gloves.

But in the silent, moody mist — set against a landscape of bare branches and still sparse patches of grass — the pale pinks and whites of the flowering trees seemed especially vibrant. And the magnolias smelled heavenly the moment a light rain stopped.


Lilacs bloom and color returns

Lilacs blooming in Central Park in late April / Photo by E. A. Wright
Lilacs blooming in Central Park in late April / Photo by E. A. Wright
Orange and white tulips in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright
Orange and white tulips in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright
Potted hydrangeas decorate a bridge in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright
Potted hydrangeas decorate a bridge in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright

Springtime lilacs and tulips

When spring officially begins (at least according to overly optimistic calendars) New York is still a chilly place and Central Park's lilac bushes are still bare. Mid-April brings just a few buds and teasingly hot days.

It isn't until late April that the lilacs start to bloom and springtime truly arrives.

Late April is also good time to wander north in the park to the Conservatory Garden. (It's off Fifth Ave. at E. 105th St.)

This is not an expansive garden, but it's a relatively peaceful place, and the the tulips displays are impressive.

Elsewhere in the park, azaleas start to bloom as the last daffodils fade away.

The pale white blossoms and bare branches of early spring have given way to a greener, more colorful time of year.


Pink tulips in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright
Pink tulips in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright

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Comments 3 comments

Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 7 years ago from Canada

I love solitary walks and especially near and around flowers :) thank you for sharing.


awsydney profile image

awsydney 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

I love the pink magnolias. They are so beautiful in winter here, especially when the entire tree is filled and there is not a single leaf. Well done EA. You take great photos.


christinamaef 4 years ago

very colorful and interesting...

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