Although New Yorkers correlate the blooming of beautiful cherry blossoms around town to the arrival of spring, the official kickoff to the season actually depends on a variety of factors—at least according to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation's very own spring tracker timeline.
You can access the guide right here, where you'll notice that there are 20 total spring indicators to watch out for. Once one of them is discovered in nature, the image associated to it will feature a checkmark next to it on the website.
Snowdrops, for example, the beautiful white flowers that emerge from the frozen ground, have already been spotted in Central Park and Washington Square Park. Woodcocks, also known as "timberdoodles," also portent the arrival of the season—and they were seen around Bryant Park back in mid-February.
Other already-witnessed signs include the spotting of flowers and trees like crocus, Lenten roses, daffodils, Cornelian cherry trees, red maple trees, cherry trees and magnolias.
Moving away from flora, the department advises to look at the Delacorte Clock: the musical gadget switched to its spring time playlist on March 2 (a list that includes tracks like "Easter Parade" by Bing Crosby and "It Might As Well be Spring").
One more way to monitor the switching of the seasons is Daylight Savings Time, which just happened last weekend.
Although the majority of images on the tracker feature a check next to them, nine things still need to happen before New Yorkers can confidently announced that spring has arrived—and they all involve specific plants and flowers, including the lavender-blue Glory-of-the-Snow flowers, tulips, callery pear trees, Eastern redbud, crab apple, flowering Dogwood, aaleas, aliums (usually prevalent at Randall's Island Park!) and violets.
So, go ahead, print out the document and go on a hunt of sorts all around town. You might be the very first New Yorker to be able to say that spring has, indeed, finally sprung—at which point, you should add all the best things to do in spring in NYC to your bucket list.
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