many people failed to see a man in a gorilla suit walking through a video scene in which they were instructed to watch people playing with basketballs. “The thing about the gorilla is many people don’t notice it,” he said. “But then once they do, it’s kind of hard to take your attention off of it.”

annual tulip festival at the West Side Community Garden in Manhattan pondered the link between emotional states and perceptual capacity while soaking in the flowers, nearly 100 varieties in all, planted in concentric beds around a small lawn.

“Everything is just more beautiful after going through this horrible year,” said Monica Barrett, a real estate appraiser and environmental activist, gesturing at a patch of tulips striped in psychedelic scarlet, yellow and orange hues. “Looking at these, they’re hypnotizing. It’s almost like I’m high!”

Judy Disla, a retiree and volunteer at the festival, said: “I’ve seen more all around the city. I think we just appreciate these things so much more now.”

Last year the garden was locked during tulip season as a pandemic precaution, but she still dropped by to look at the flowers through the gate. “We’ve all become a little more attached to nature than we were,” Ms. Disla said. “It’s just made us so much more cognizant of the beauty of nature and the healing power of nature.”

Judy Robinson, the president of the garden’s board of directors, described how people have been telling her and others that they’ve been waiting for this all year: “‘Through this horrible year, the garden has really been sustaining me, and you don’t know how much this means to me.’” She added, “People are so, so happy.”

Dozens circulated through the garden over a weekday afternoon, gazing in rapture at the jewel-toned blooms. At one point, attention shifted from flowers to phones as news of the Derek Chauvin verdict broke.

“It’s an ecstatic moment,” an older man said to a friend, as helicopters soared above. Soon enough, faces turned back to the flowers, which were swaying gently in the breeze.

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