• New York,  WorldWide

    Brooklyn Itinerary: Cherry Blossoms and Prospect Heights

    Each spring, the 220 cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden are in full bloom, and to celebrate, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden will host a weekend-long Cherry Blossom Festival, known in Japanese as Sakura Matsuri, from April 30 – May 1.


    This is the perfect time to explore the charming Prospect Heights and endless number of diverse activities and attractions that this popular Brooklyn neighborhood has to offer. Don’t miss the local charm found in the neighborhood’s historic brownstone architecture, mom-and-pop shops and thriving restaurant and bar scene. Marvel at the design of the memorial arch in Grand Army Plaza, and stroll through Prospect Park, the 526-acre greenspace bracketing the neighborhood. See below for itinerary suggestions, additional imagery can be downloaded using the following link: https://we.tl/2E8ImH60Mj, and an insider’s guide to Prospect Heights is available on YouTube: http://bit.ly/1S8tSWS.


    Brooklyn Botanic Garden

    Hanami: Cherry Blossom Viewing – Cherry-blossom viewing, known as hanami, is a centuries-old Japanese custom, a springtime occasion for merriment and the contemplation of life’s beauty and transience. Visitors and locals can partake in this tradition at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, home to scores of flowering varieties for public enjoyment. Guided tours focusing on the blooms are held on Wednesdays during the April viewing season, and the more-frequent garden highlights tours touch upon them as well (bbg.org/cherries).
    35th Anniversary Sakura Matsuri – From April 30 to May 1, Brooklyn Botanic Garden hosts the weekend-long Cherry Blossom Festival, known in Japanese as Sakura Matsuri. During the festival, which is celebrating its 35th year at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, visitors can enjoy an array of events and activities celebrating Japanese culture, including J-pop concerts, traditional Japanese music and dance, taiko drumming, martial arts, bonsai-pruning workshops, tea ceremonies and manga art (bbg.org/sakura_matsuri).

    Culture & Entertainment

    Barclays Center – The 18,000 seat Barclays Center is home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and, most recently, the NHL’s New York Islanders. The venue is also host to boxing, circuses, family shows and concerts, including Florence and the Machine (June 14), and Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas (July 8) this summer (barclayscenter.com).
    Brooklyn Museum –Brooklyn Museum possesses an extensive permanent collection of ancient Egyptian masterpieces, African art, European painting, decorative arts, period rooms, and contemporary art, in addition to rotating cutting-edge exhibitions and programs (www.brooklynmuseum.org).  Current exhibitions on display at the museum include:

    • This PlaceThis Place explores the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor, through the eyes of twelve internationally acclaimed photographers (through June 5, 2016).
    • Agitprop!Agitprop! connects contemporary art devoted to social change with historic moments in creative activism, highlighting activities that seek to motivate broad and diverse publics (throughAugust 7, 2016).
    • Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull) – This site-specific installation recalls the birth of new public art in Coney Island, and the emergence of a uniquely American and wholly “Coney Island” style of painting.

    Brooklyn Public Library – Visitors can take in the stunning architecture of the Brooklyn Public Library and enjoy its collection of 1.5 million books and magazines (bklynlibrary.org).
    Prospect Park – Go horse-back riding or ride the carousel, visit the Prospect Park Zoo, walk through the breathtaking Long Meadow, and ice skate at LeFrak recreation center. Attend the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at the Prospect Park Bandshell, New York’s longest-running, free outdoor performing arts festival featuring live music (prospectpark.org).



    Ample Hills– Offering creative flavors such as Snap, Mallow, Pop (marshmallow ice cream with buttery Rice Krispies clusters) and The Raw Deal (vanilla ice cream with chocolate flakes and homemade brown butter chocolate cookie dough), Ample Hills is a great spot to take the kids, in addition to anyone with a sweet tooth (amplehills.com).
    El Atoradero– a Poblano Mexican joint that originally operated in the Bronx, El Atoradero features homemade Mexican eats and outdoor seating, ideal for the warm spring weather (elatoraderobrooklyn.com).

    Chuko Ramen– Chuko Ramen serves up ramen and Japanese inspired dishes with unexpected ingredients and flavor combinations (barchuko.com/chuko-ramen).

    The Islands– The Islands gives visitors a taste of the Caribbean with savory jerk chicken and calypso shrimp (zomato.com/the-islands).

    Tom’s Restaurant– A family owned and operated diner known for its pancakes, egg creams and key lime rickeys, Tom’s Restaurant is an iconic diner in New York City’s restaurant scene (tomsrestaurant.net).

    The Vanderbilt– A seasonal American gastropub with an intimate and stylish setting, The Vanderbilt serves everything from eggplant lasagna to grilled pork chops (thevanderbiltnyc.com).


    Tooker Alley– Serving up classic and modern cocktails, Tooker Alley is a speakeasy that gets its name from the location of Chicago’s famed Dil Pickle Club (tookeralley.com).

    Weather Up– The old-fashioned cocktail bar and popular local hot-spot is the perfect place to relax with a high-end drink (weatherupnyc.com).


    O.N.A. – The trendy woman’s boutique features bold, modern clothing and accessories from local designers (onanyc.com).
    1 of a Find Vintage– Don’t leave Brooklyn without purchasing some vintage items, whether it’s clothing or home goods (1ofafindnyc.com). 
    Empire Mayonnaise– For unique souvenirs from the neighborhood and a taste of Brooklyn’s artisan culture, Empire Mayonnaise sells a wide variety of mayonnaise flavors including Bacon, Roasted Garlic, Sriracha and White Truffle (empiremayo.com).

    Unnameable Books – For the book worms, Unnameable Books sells new and used books and also hosts events including talks, book launches and readings (facebook.com/unnameable).


    Prospect Heights borders main streets Atlantic Avenue, Eastern Parkway and Flatbush Avenue. It is a quick ten minute subway ride from Lower Manhattan and less than a half hour from Midtown. The 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, and R trains all stop in the neighborhood, as do public buses, making for a smooth and seamless commute from no matter which borough one is staying.

    Additional information is available on www.nycgo.com.