Spring in New York! The flowers are blooming! The birds are singing! And it is still damn freezing!
I admit it: I am a complete wimp when it comes to cold. As soon as it dips below 75 degrees F, I am a total bee-yutch (but if its 100 degrees and 95 percent humidity, I am so there!). When I saw crocuses coming up as a kid, I knew warm weather was coming because it actually was warm. Well, “warmish.”It was like clockwork. By the time May rolled around, southeastern Pennsylvania was all about the spring colors.
When I moved up to the Big Apple from Philadelphia, it was May…and the first nugget of wisdom I learned was that this city does not get consistently warm until June. Late June, usually. Thermophiles take note.
The city seems to have thicker skin than I do. Either that, or the trees and bushes are so jonesin’ for some fluoronic sex that they spring to life with the soonest breath of spring, no matter how early in the year it is. I can certainly understand the desperation, but flowers blooming in 40-degree weather is total false advertising.
But there is something bordering on ethereal walking down a Manhattan side street when the pear trees are beginning to shed their pedals. It is almost like that unicorn scene in “Legend” where you think it is snowing but its really a tsunami of blossom…and an off-stage wind machine. Anyway, it’s a great effect, and adds a little pastoral tranquility to the urban landscape.
And that urban landscape is infamous for being asphalted, concreted, and otherwise man-made to the point any sign of nature at all must be an oversight, but not so! New Yorkers can do wonders with a sidewalk tree-pit. Don’t give me that look. Seriously–armies of daffodil bulb-bearing petal-pushers take to New York’s street grid each spring and start planting around all the trees along the sidewalks. Signs of spring come in all shapes and sizes.
And while it isn’t necessarily obvious from those foldy-maps, New York is spangled with little parks and playgrounds that give neighborhoods a seasonal face-lift. Central Park gets the love, but real NYC life unfolds, and takes a breather, in tiny green spaces like Hell’s Kitchen Park on 49th St and 10 Ave., Washington Square Park in the West Village, or the DeSalvio Playground in Little Italy. Come springtime, daffodils, cherry trees, and tulips are all doing their thang. To be honest, I think I get better photos in the smaller parks; in Central Park I’m in competition with 15 other photogs over the same tulip.
And when you find tulips like this, you can see why the competition is so fierce. Good thing I found these in on the West Side Drive…