Friday, April 19, 2013

The 3rd Annual Cherry Blossom Festival at Roosevelt Island! 04-13-2013

Location: Roosevelt Island, performances at FDR Four Freedoms Park
Time: 1:30pm
People: RB, CK and myself and insane amount of crowds.

Feelings: Hanami, the Japanese tradition of cherry-blossom viewing and a good excuse for Japanese businessmen to drink and party, has also become a tradition of NYC. We have a great proverb about Hanami. "Hana yori dango," meaning "Sweet mochi rather than flowers," suggests that people are more interested in eating and drinking from a hanami gathering than the actual observance of the flowers. So yes, if you wonder why every cherry blossom festival has many food and alcohol vendors, this is why.

Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanical Garden is possibly the most popular hanami event in the city. But if you want slightly less crowded version with a great view of East River and the Manhattan skyline with a fun tram ride, Roosevelt Island's Cherry Blossom Festival is hard to beat.

The lines for various Japanese street foods were quite long, but we spotted some takoyaki and yakisoba stands as well as a lovely spot called "Sake Garden," where people could relax and enjoy their drinks while observing beautiful cherry blossoms--the proper way to enjoy hanami.

Besides the cherry blossoms, we were able to observe the tea ceremony and kenjutsu (Japanese swordsmanship) at FDR Four Freedoms Park. Unfortunately, the brisk wind, crowds and our antsy toddler were not the perfect scenario for hanami, but we hope to head back to the island for our own private hanami soon.


KikaEats said...

Cherry blossoms in full bloom are so magical. This time of year makes me miss the cherry blossom festival in Wash, DC - my hometown. Next year, I'll hit Roosevelt Island for sure.

Yosh. O said...

Definitely recommend checking out the cherry blossoms on RI! Not too late!!