It really feels like spring, doesn't it? That's a good thing! We guess. Spring is good. Things grow. And there's other good stuff too. Good. Good. Good. Or maybe you don't really care that much about spring and kind of just can't wait till summer? Maybe this time of year just seems like something to trudge through, what with all of its oppressive hopefulness and saccharine cheer? I mean, when Brooklyn starts to naturally take on pastel tones, I personally feel like hibernating. But I can't. So, in order to help me get through this time, and maybe some of you fellow spring-haters, I've come up with a list of great things about springtime in Brooklyn—things that can make even a springtime grinch like me appreciate the fact that, sometimes, good things are, well, good.
Check out the Cherry Blossoms in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
Planted in 1921, the Cherry Walk in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens has become known as one of the best places to see cherry blossom trees outside of Japan. The different types of trees have staggered flowering schedules, making it possible to visit the Gardens anytime from the end of March to the end of April and see this visual feast. I mean, there's so much pink! And it's not a sickly-sweet kind of pink. It's lurid. It's in your face. It's the way pink should be. Which, side note, was anybody else in high school when TRL used to play that awful/incredible Aerosmith song "Pink" which featured Steven Tyler looming out of the television screen crooning the immortal lyrics "Pink as the bing on your cherry/Pink because you are so very"? That was life-changing for me. Anyway. Cherry blossom season peaks with the Sakura Matsuri Festival, which, while crowded, is still a great time to check out the garden and see lots of people dressed up like anime characters. Seriously. It's pretty great.
Visit the Greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza
Not that we don't love root vegetables (because, god, do we love root vegetables) but after a winter full of turnips and potatoes, won't it be nice to indulge in the finer things in life? Like rhubarb? And ramps? I think so! Spring also marks the start of CSA season, which is great, because soon everyone you know will be Instagramming pictures of kohlrabi that look like Jon Hamm's penis. It's gonna be awesome.
Watch All the Happy Dogs in the Park
Do you love dogs? Of course you do, you're not a monster. Well, one of the best things about spring for me is seeing how happy my dog gets now that she can go outside without freezing her little paws. My dog, a mini Schnauzer named Valkyrie, who you'd think—based purely on her name and Germanic breed—would be tough, is in fact a big wimp when it comes to snow and cold weather. So, she loves the spring. And so does basically every other dog in Brooklyn. This is great because it means that, even if you don't have a dog, you can go to Ft. Greene Park or Prospect Park and watch all the dogs be happy and free. It's a beautiful thing.
Revel in Weather-Appropriate Poetry
It's all well and good to hole up in your bedroom with a bottle of red wine and the poetry of Wallace Stevens or Mayakovsky when it's winter, but you can't exactly do that in the spring. It just wouldn't feel right. And drinking and reading poetry in bed are all about feeling right. But you know what? That's fine. Because there's other drinking/poet pairings that are just made for warmer weather. Springtime lends itself to sitting outside, in the sun that's not too hot yet, and drinking something fizzy containing gin (incidentally, now's not a bad time to switch from brown liquor to clear) and reading this Neruda poem. Spring is the time of being stuck between the equinox and the solstice, after all. It's a terrible, terrible place to be, but at least there's Pablo to help get you through.
Drunk as drunk on turpentine
From your open kisses,
Your wet body wedged
Between my wet body and the strake
Of our boat that is made of flowers,
Feasted, we guide it - our fingers
Like tallows adorned with yellow metal -
Over the sky's hot rim,
The day's last breath in our sails.
Pinned by the sun between solstice
And equinox, drowsy and tangled together
We drifted for months and woke
With the bitter taste of land on our lips,
Eyelids all sticky, and we longed for lime
And the sound of a rope
Lowering a bucket down its well. Then,
We came by night to the Fortunate Isles,
And lay like fish
Under the net of our kisses.
"Ring in the Spring" with Catbird
One of my favorite Brooklyn stores, Catbird, is celebrating the new season with a beautiful new campaign to "Ring in the Spring." Catbird is known for many things, but is perhaps best known for all of the delicate options it has to decorate your digits. My favorite might be the Oli & Me Snake Ring, because I love snakes, especially ones that adorn my hands.
So, clearly, this can be done during any season. But there is something particularly nice about stopping by some of the smaller galleries that dot Brooklyn at this particular time of year, because the weather is so temperate and lends itself to strolling or whatever. The Invisible Dog is hosting a show right now, "The Exploded Mind of Mulholland Hwang", by Aaron Ruff and Oliver Jeffers that is a must-see. Ruff, the brilliant designer and craftsman behind Digby & Iona, and Jeffers, an amazing artist whose mediums range from oil painting to cartography, collaborated on this installation, which "depicts a boy's fascination with animals and nature's constant competition to discover the hierarchy between species." It's the perfect way to spend a spring afternoon.
I'm not the biggest fan of eating outside always. Or, at least, I think it's generally overrated because, bugs. And weird smells that come from sources you can't control. But drinking outside is always delightful. And there are so many places to go in Brooklyn where you can indulge in this most-civilized way of imbibing in the gin drink of your choice. And, yes, gin. It's the season, you guys. One of the best spots to do this in Brooklyn is The Pines in Gowanus. The Pines is also an amazing restaurant, but the drinks menu is insane too and worthy of a visit on its own. Plus, not only do they have a huge outdoor space, but if it isn't really that warm yet, they have a big old bonfire to keep you toasty. You can also make s'mores. And maybe keep away bugs? We're not really sure. Either way, just drink a lot of gin and you'll be fine. Try Dorothy's Dilemma. It's gin, huckleberry, and lemon. Huckleberry. Nothing says spring like huckleberry.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen