The first cherry blossom is out at Brooklyn Botanic Garden!

Could it be? Is spring actually, really, finally here at last?

Sakura Matsuri 2013 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Sakura Matsuri 2013 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Photograph: Filip Wolak

Forget March 20: For Brooklynites, the Sakura Matsuri festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the real first day of spring. A celebration of Japanese culture that features everything from bonsai exhibits and kimono fashion shows to J-pop performances and manga drawing classes, it takes place right in the middle of a vast pink sea of gently undulating cherry blossoms (which, as most regular visitors will tell you, are best enjoyed while laying on your back underneath one with a large cold drink). After the brutally cold pummeling the city took from this year’s winter, New Yorkers are looking forward to spring like never before, which is why we’re delighted to see from the BBG’s CherryWatch Blossom Status Map that the very first blossom appeared this morning, a couple weeks later than scheduled, but very much still in the pink.

According to the site, the rest of the trees should start flowering by the end of this week, which means the place should be fully in bloom by the time of the festival on April 26 and 27. If you absolutely can’t wait till then, though, take a look at this time-lapse video of the growing blossoms, taken in the park in 2008.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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