City residents and visitors alike will be getting some much-needed time off in March and April as spring break rolls around. Early spring is a glorious time to explore NYC because there are so many fun things to do with family, friends, and kids of all ages.
Easter Day Parade and Bonnet Festival
Who doesn't love outrageous headwear? The NYC East Parade and Bonnet Festival is a yearly spring tradition where folks from all over march down Fifth Ave (between 49th and 57th) past St. Patrick's Cathedral in their fanciest hats. The free and delightfully silly event will take place Sunday, April fourth from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It's not a parade in the traditional sense. Mostly people just walk around and admire the deeply creative hats other revelers have donned. Some people complete their ensemble with festive costumes as well. This event is great for people of all ages. After the event, snuggle up in front of the television and watch Easter Parade, a movie starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire with music by Irving Berlin. The movie made the informal parade well known throughout the U.S.
Cherry Blossom Festival
Spring has sprung at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens! Every April the cherry blossom festival draws crowds from around the country. The website even has a handy map to show you where the trees are blooming and whether they've reached peak bloom. There are 26 species and cultivars of cherry trees represented in the Brooklyn gardens including Snow Goose, Hatazakura, and Taoyame varieties. The delicate pink and white blossoms burst forth throughout the spring and no two tree species blossom at exactly the same time. That means it's an experience to revisit week after week to see each tree at its fullest. Stroll around the Japanese pond beneath the flowering boughs or go down "Cherry Walk," a meandering path lined with dazzling blooms. The final breathtaking spot to see cherry trees at their peak is the "Cherry Esplanade." The open lawn is lined with 76 specimens that are truly a sight to behold.
Baseball Opening Day
After an abbreviated season last year, the New York Mets and the Yankees will be reopening their stadiums to fans, albeit at a limited capacity. Both teams will play in stadiums to 20% capacity crowds. The Mets' first home game will take place April 5 and, if every ticket is sold, 8,492 baseball lovers will be there to witness it. The Yankee's home season begins on April 1 and seating will be arranged "pod-style" to keep fans a safe distance apart. Both fields will require guests to either have a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination to gain entry. Both stadiums are also going fully mobile and getting rid of paper ticketing. Concessions purchases will go cashless too. After each game, the fields will be thoroughly sanitized. Masks will be required for everyone over the age of two. While the new protocols may change the baseball experience, most fans are just excited to be back!
Spotlight on Orchids
Cherry blossoms aren't the only botanical attraction in New York City this spring. The New York Botanical Garden is hosting Spotlight on Orchids until April fourth. Select areas of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory are showcasing stunning orchids in white and other color sets. They've been planted as they would be found in nature and surrounded by other stunning flora like bromeliads. The horticulturalists have artistically recreated the tropical habitats and, with international travel still on hiatus, it's a great place to pretend like you're on an exotic getaway. NYBG is also offering an array of virtual classes on orchid care. Whether you're just starting your journey with orchids or are looking for new ways to care for existing plants, there's a class for you. Classes are currently available through May.
One World Observatory
Feel on top of the world at One World Observatory. The experience begins with a ride in a "skypod" that shoots visitors up to the 102nd floor of the tallest building in the western hemisphere in only 60 seconds. The pods are lined floor to ceiling with LED screens showing the NYC skyline, a teaser for the actual views to come. The Main Observatory features an interactive "City Pulse" where visitors can virtually explore city neighborhoods. The views through the wrap-around windows will take your breath away. Extend your stay in the Observatory with reservations at the restaurant. The American fare menu has appetizers including buttermilk fried calamari and blistered Shishito peppers. The entree options include port wine-braised short ribs, half brick chicken, and an all-American burger. Enjoying a meal 100 stories in the air is truly an elevated dining experience.
Museum of Ice Cream
Temperatures are rising and that means it's finally ice cream season! Make spring break a little bit sweeter with a visit to the Museum of Ice Cream. The museum space has 13 different exhibition spaces that present multi-sensory and immersive experiences all centered around frozen, creamy confections. The exhibitions change seasonally but fan favorites include the "Oh Yeah Room" where a dessert feast is suspended overhead by balloons and the "Rainbow Tunnel," a tribute to NYC's gay pride history. And don't miss the sprinkle pool! The cafe serves original ice cream flavors to dessert lovers of all ages. Try the PB & P, a craveable blend of peanut butter with chocolate-covered pretzels and a peanut butter swirl. Adult visitors can sign up for the "Sips and Scoops" class, a workshop to create your own ice cream and pair it with cocktails. Visitors ages seven and older can attend "Sundae School" but it's not your neighborhood church variety. This class goes into the history of ice cream and you get to make your very own flavor from scratch.