Throughout the Spring, the colors of New York City come to life as the trees & flowers bloom.
While there are many types of spring blooms, few can compete with the beautiful cherry blossom trees.
You can find cherry trees all over NYC, however, the Roosevelt Island cherry blossoms are towards the top of the list.
Read on to learn more about the Roosevelt Island cherry trees and how to perfectly time your visit to see them in bloom.
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1) Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossoms Introduction
Located within the East River, between Manhattan and Queens, you can find a sliver of land called Roosevelt Island.
What used to be home to hospitals, penitentiaries, and mental institutions, has since been transformed into an island full of parks, views, and of course cherry blossoms.
While there are many different varieties of cherry blossoms in the world, Roosevelt Island is home to the three main varieties that can be found in NYC.
These cherry blossoms include: Okame, Yoshino, & Kwanzan.
When it comes to these three varieties of trees, they all bloom at different times of Spring. In general, you can find Okame blooms in mid March, Yoshino in the first half of April, and Kwanzan at the end of April into early May.
This means you will have the chance to see Roosevelt Island cherry blossoms all throughout the Spring!
2023 Update: cherry blossom season arrived early in 2023 with the Kwanzan trees reaching peak bloom in mid April.
Timing Note: while there are multiple cherry trees on the island, you will (most likely) not get to see more than one variety in peak bloom at the same time due to the different bloom schedules.
If you enjoy these cherry trees, you are bound to enjoy the Central Park cherry blossoms. Check out the guide to learn more!
2) Roosevelt Island Cherry Tree Map
When visiting Roosevelt Island during cherry blossom season, you will find most of the trees towards the southern end of the island.
There are three main areas to visit to see the famous cherry trees:
- Cherry Tree Walk – South of Queensboro Bridge Along West Loop Road (most famous spot)
- Eleanor’s Pier
- Cornell Tech – South of Queensboro Bridge Along East Loop Road
The first two spots have both Yoshino and Kwanzan trees, while the east side of Cornell Tech has a few Okame trees.
See the map below for the exact locations of the various cherry trees on Roosevelt Island.
3) Cherry Blossom Tips
Just a few tips when going about your visit to Roosevelt Island during cherry blossom season:
- The main cherry blossom area south of the bridge can get very busy (the cherry tree walk). If you are a photographer or just want to avoid the crowds, head there early in the morning (do note that some of the trees will have the sun blocked by the nearby buildings in the very early morning).
- Another option is to go there later in the day for sunset. While there are bound to be more people compared to the early morning, you do get the chance to see those sunset colors in the background.
- If you are able to, opt for a sunny day to see the trees. Having the trees light up in the sun will make the photos that much better .
- The island is not just about cherry blossoms. Be sure to check out some other top Roosevelt Island things to do during a visit.
- Roosevelt Island is one of the many places in NYC with cherry trees. I put together a NYC cherry blossoms guide that talks about several more top spots.
- Be sure to take the tram to Roosevelt Island! This will give you the chance to get some beautiful views along the way. You can even catch those cherry blossom views from the tram (see pictures below).
4) Roosevelt Island Cherry Tree Walk
When it comes to cherry blossoms on Roosevelt Island, this is going to be your main spot.
Just south of the Queensboro Bridge, along the west side of the island, is a whole path filled with cherry trees – the Roosevelt Island Cherry Tree Walk.
The cherry trees are located between West Loop Road and the walking path along the river. These trees essentially stretch all the way from the bridge to Southpoint Park.
As mentioned, you will find both Kwanzan and Yoshino cherry trees along the pathway. But these two sets of trees are not mixed with one another.
Instead, you will two sections of trees – just south of the bridge are the Kwanzan trees, followed by the next section further south of the Yosino trees.
You can see on the map above, how I split out the two outlines of where the trees are located.
Yoshino Cherry Trees
The Yoshino trees will bloom before the Kwanzans. So, you will first walk by a bare set of Kwanzan trees that are just starting to bud, before coming across the pinkish white Yoshino trees.
You can enjoy some photos looking in both directions along the walkway in addition to some photos between the trees too.
Kwanzan Cherry Trees
If you happen to visit later in the Spring, then the Kwanzan trees may be in bloom. These trees are a much more vibrant pink color with larger petals.
By the time these bloom, the nearby Yoshino trees will have already be past bloom and you will just come across some green trees.
My favorite part of the Kwanzan trees is that they are closer to the bridge and the tram. This gives you the chance to get better shots of the bridge & tram in view with the trees.
5) Eleanor’s Pier
After finishing up with some shots near the southern end of the island, you can then walk northbound along the river until you reach Eleanor’s Pier.
The pier is a perfect spot to find a seat and enjoy those views of the NYC skyline.
In addition to the views, there are also cherry trees here that bring the area some color during the Spring.
You can find both Kwanzan and Yoshino trees, however, not nearly as many compared to the southern end of the island.
I would more so recommend heading up to the pier just to enjoy the view with the beautiful surroundings.
6) East Loop Road (Cornell Tech)
The least talked about cherry blossoms on Roosevelt Island are the early blooming Okame trees on the east side of the island.
There are just a handful of trees on the east side of Cornell Tech, just south of the bridge.
While there are only a few trees here, it is a great panorama to have the trees in the foreground with the Queensboro Bridge out in the distance.
If you happen to visit in mid-March, these will be your best bet.
That about does it for a guide to the famous Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossoms.
If you have any questions or comments, be sure to add them in below. Also, don’t forget to check out the other New York itineraries and guides up on the site.
Have fun out there and safe travels!