The joy and splendor of travel lost on one man

Spring Blossoms in New York City

I’ve been living in New York City for the last two months. I’d lived here before for ten years starting in the early-1990s. It’s strange being back again after so long. A lot of things still seem familiar, but overall the city feels more hostile and more violent than I remember it being when I left in 2003. Some of this probably has to do with the city trying to right itself after two years of Covid-19. The whole world got knocked on its heels, and everyone is struggling to get back to some kind of normalcy. New York City is no different.

But since being back here, I’ve been body-checked by a mentally ill person on a subway platform at Penn Station, swarmed by rats while walking Walter: International Dog of Intrigue on the Upper West Side, and challenged to a fist fight by a drunk in Greenwich Village who repeatedly called me the N-word, which cut to the bone, my being such an OG soul brother and all.

I was starting to get worn down by all the crime and the noise and the filth in the streets, but then this week the weather warmed and spring peeked around the corner. One morning, I noticed all the trees starting to bloom, and it really snapped me out of my funk. I became mildly obsessed with all the different types of flowers.

I photographed dozens of flowering trees in my neighborhood and even tried to learn the Latin names of each of them. It’s been a great exercise. Getting outside and enjoying all the trees has really lifted my spirits. I’m sharing some of my favorite blossoms with you now in the hope that my photos of spring time in New York City help lift your spirits, too.

Remember, if all you do here is stare at the ground, the only thing you’ll see is garbage. Don’t forget there’s a whole other world above you–when things get you down, all you have to do is look up.


This magnificent tree is called a Charminus detritus. The bloom was too high up for me to be able to smell it, but just looking at it makes me think it must rival the most fragrant hyacinth anywhere.

One thing that I love about my neighborhood is that I don’t have to travel far to immerse myself in the wonders of nature. This exquisite Arboris dumpsternum is only a few blocks away. How lucky am I?
I lucked out with the weather when I shot this photograph. The brilliant sunlight combined with the vivid blue sky really help set off the yellow tones in this Urinae abominatio.
I dare you to find a more beautiful Consumimus plasticae. Go ahead. Knock yourself out. New York City, best city in the world!
This one was tricky to identify. Because of the bloom’s elongated structure and ashen hues, I first thought this tree might be a Vulgaris toga, but after doing an enormous amount of online research, I’m 99% certain that it is, in fact, an Escapus fugitivum. There’s still so much more I have to learn about all these trees. If you have any thoughts about this tree, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
This one threw me when it caught my eye. At first glance, I thought it was a new type of blossom. I started googling various trees in the Northeast and couldn’t find anything. Then I took a closer look. It turns out this “blossom” is just a soccer ball that some kid left in the tree like a piece of trash. We’re supposed to be leaving a cleaner planet for this dick?
I know what you’re thinking: “My lord, look at those Yoshino cherry blossoms!” I thought the same thing, too. It turns out, though, that this beauty is actually an Obscenus asswipe. They are gorgeous, but I have to admit that I’ve seen so many around here lately that I’ve gotten numb to them. Call me spoiled.
This one really caught my eye. The sun was in the wrong place for me to be able to capture the lush reds in this Maledictus amor, but trust me–they were stunning.

Now I’m going to show you several different examples of one of the most popular flowering trees here in New York City. They look similar to the Maledictus amor above, but biologically they could not be more different. Behold, my friends, the Mylaris cumpleanus:

They’re incredible, right? I have dozens more of these that I could show you. They’re all over the city–just like the rats, LOL! (“Look up, Nick. Look up!”)

I’ve got two more interesting varieties I’ve come across that I know you’ll want to see, so let’s get back to it.

Check out the delicate blue hues in this Nuclei holocaustum that’s just down the street from where I live. The flower looks so delicate, so soft. I wish I could pick a dozen of these and make a spectacular bouquet to brighten up my apartment.
I’ll finish up with one of the more unique blossoms I’ve seen so far this spring. There was a young woman waiting for the bus right below this one. I pointed it out to her and told her how beautiful I thought it was, but she didn’t seem interested in botany–at all. When I asked her if she recognized what kind of flower it was, she went nuts, calling me a “psycho” and threatening to “mace my ass.” See what I mean about this city wearing people down? Whatever, lady. I went home and hit the internet again to figure out what this thing is. As best I can tell judging from the yellow color and fine black highlights, this is a Homicidium situs. Again, let me know in the comments if you know what it is for sure.

So that’s my quick guide to some of the flora right here in the so-called “concrete jungle.” I hope you enjoyed it. Looking up at all these flowers makes it easy for me to forget how disgustingly vile and wretched the streets here are. And what’s more, April showers are on their way. It makes me confident that someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.

19 Responses to “Spring Blossoms in New York City”

  1. Suzie Asher

    You talk about looking up, but when I drop my chin and lower my sights, I see the very heart of a city, its dna, its raison d’etritus, its labours of frustrated lust, I see the heights a bird can soar to and still get run over by a fossil glugging truck. Look down and see the stars, reflected in the sinews of piss that hold this city together. And we are blessed to be nature’s conduit. Loved those blossoms Nick, so inspiring. I will have to look again soon with my spectacles on.

    • Nick

      No. Diego lives here. He’s subjected to this every day, too. Why rub the poor kid’s nose in it?

  2. Lincoln Anderson

    I searched Tours by Locals but couldn’t find anything that comes close to your deep dive into your city. You skipped right over the history, architecture, museums and all the other everyday whatnot to get to the essence of your special place. Your future as a guide has been discovered!

    • Nick

      Thanks for noticing. I really did try to get to the essence of New York City. I wanted to show you what it must have looked like when the indigenous peoples lived here, before it was all concrete and skyscrapers and wall-to-wall garbage.

  3. Maureen O'Driscoll

    We looked all around Sydney and couldn’t find a single example that rivals the amazing NYC flora.

  4. Bruce Gulde

    I have always mistaken the Vulgarus Toga for the Dolly Pardonus Triple D. Thank you for the clarification.

    • Nick

      In your defense, my photos were a little grainy. I couldn’t get very close to each tree. I had to stay on the sidewalk in order to avoid trampling the delicate ecosystems here.

  5. Rae

    Never cleaning my room again since it’s a beautiful vegetation paradise.

    • Nick

      “Again?” Your room is the original Garden of Eden in the context of this post.

  6. Beth Sackman

    Another brilliant post Nick! I thoroughly enjoyed the photos with your insightful commentary!

  7. Liz

    As usual, you truly capture all of the splendor in your surroundings, Nick! I so appreciate learning the Latin terms for all that beauty, as well. Wow. Well done!

    • Nick

      Thanks for reading, Liz. Glad I could help with your Latin. I try to make sure everyone learns something new in every piece I write.

  8. Michael Beindorff

    Brilliant as always. Such an eye you have! I love the Clash reference.

    • Nick

      Thanks for reading, Michael. Taking beautiful photos like these is easy in NYC. Just point and shoot (your camera) in any direction. And what Clash reference?

      • Michael Beindorff

        “Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets” Red Angel Dragnet

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