Peak blossoms expected this week
The spring snow is not expected to affect Washington’s famous cherry blossoms.
National Park Service spokeswoman Carol Johnson says Monday’s snow should not affect the predicted peak bloom dates for the flowering trees. The cherry blossoms are expected to reach peak bloom between April 3 and April 6.
Johnson says the snow itself doesn’t have any effect on the trees. But the cold weather has already slowed the blossoms’ growth, pushing back bloom dates to April. Johnson says Washington is lucky that the trees did not bloom early because the heavy wet snow could have knocked the flowers off the trees.
The cherry blossoms draw about 1 million visitors each spring. This year marks the 101st anniversary of the gift of trees from Japan.
10 new Longships
Viking River Cruises set a record this month, simultaneously inaugurating 10 190-passenger Viking Longships for European cruises.
The main ceremony took place in the Amsterdam Harbor, where four of the ships were located. The other six were at the Neptun shipyard in Germany and were christened via satellite.
The ceremony was certified by a Guinness World Records adjudicator as “the most ships inaugurated in one day by one company.” Only eight of the ships counted toward the record, however. Guinness did not include two ships that entered service in 2012 but were not christened until Wednesday.
Viking, which has been on a building binge, says it will break that record next year with the launch of 14 ships.
Big plans set
for old airport
The site of Ecuador’s former international airport in the capital city of Quito will be redeveloped as Bicentenario Park, a business and entertainment district featuring a 227,667-square-foot convention center with a capacity of 9,000 visitors, according to the country’s Ministry of Tourism.
Ecuador’s new Mariscal Sucre International Airport opened in February in the Tababela district, 12 miles northeast of Quito. It replaces the original airport, built in 1960 in a valley surrounded by mountains near Quito’s city center.
Bicentenario Park will also feature a 113,634-square-foot entertainment arena for up to 30,000 people, an aquarium, a golf course, a 25-mile track for joggers and bikers, and a heliport.
Ellis Island museum to remain closed
The Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which sustained severe damage to its infrastructure from the surging waters of Superstorm Sandy in October, is not expected to re-open to the public this year, the National Park Service said.
Nearby Liberty Island, where about 75 percent of its 12 acres was flooded, also suffered damage, but the Statue of Liberty was unharmed. Officials said earlier last week that the Statue of Liberty will re-open to the public by July 4.