By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY -- Last Saturday (April 29, 2017), this writer and a media colleague, Regine Algecera of Cable Star-Iloilo, Philippines, witnessed in real sense of the word The Cascades' illustration of how their last hope "live with the lonely leaf that clings to the bough" in their song The Last Leaf, during the legendary annual festival Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Brooklyn.
We arrived in the Garden in the morning, just in time before the official start of the main cultural shows in different venues.
We nearly missed the festival by the skin of the teeth when we were told we couldn't enter the Garden unless we had tickets bought on-line for $30 each.
We could still make it, we were told, if "you are comfortable to buy your tickets now through your mobile phones."
Since both of us were non-credit card holders, I needed to play an eleventh hour out-of-the-blue and rabbit-in-the-hat trick, enabling us to enter the fabulous 52-acre Garden that holds over 14,000 taxa of plants and founded in 1910.
The festival on that day, featuring more than 60 performances and activities celebrating traditional and contemporary Japanese culture, was the peak of cherry blossom celebrations.
The season's cherry blossoms have been spotted on the Garden's Prunus sargentii 'Fudan-zakura' and Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula' trees.
Mostly located in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and on Cherry Walk, the trees were among the earliest-blooming cultivars in the Garden's renowned ornamental cherry collection.
Their flowers heralded the start of hanami, the Japanese cultural tradition of savoring every moment of cherry blossom season.
Hanami unfolded at Brooklyn Botanic Garden as early as last week of March as the blossoms of more than 200 flowering cherry trees journey from bud to bloom to blankets of petals scattered across Cherry Esplanade, Cherry Walk, and the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.
The Garden’s collection was the most diverse of its kind in an American botanic garden consisting of more than 20 cultivars.
One of the most magical times of the year at the Garden, hanami was a classic springtime celebration in New York City.
Throughout April and this month of May, visitors can enjoy the Garden in spring with daily Seasonal Highlight Tours and view other celebrated Japanese horticultural collections, including the iconic Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum, which houses the Garden's extensive bonsai collection, one of the finest in the world.
We entered before noon time and came out past 6 o'clock in the evening, the festival's final hour.
Our photos taken inside would show it was truly an exhilarating experience.