In the three years I've lived in DC, I've never gone down to the basin to see the cherry blossoms. Finals always conflicted and I could never justify the time to get down to the Tidal Basin to snap a photo, soak in some sunshine, and enjoy the blooms.
This year, I don't know if it's the fact that finals aren't for a couple weeks (probably) or that I just care less (definitely), but my goal was to see the blossoms. Preferably, I would see the sunrise over the blossoms. So, on Friday I unintentionally woke up early and considered going back to sleep but then, in a drowsy state, I pro-conned the situation and realized that on an overcast, early Friday morning, it would probably not be too busy with tourists yet.
And I was right.
There were like maybe 100 people visible at any given time, maybe, and most of the time I didn't see anyone. It was magic. No crowds, cool air, and, oddly, no rain (they had predicted rain). It was a little overcast so seeing the sunrise wasn't going to happen but I think maybe I preferred it this way.
I went again today with a girlfriend during peak tourist time and while the sun was bright and the sky was blue, the hordes made it a little difficult to enjoy. Of course, the blossoms were still beautiful and more had bloomed in even the 30 hours that had passed since I was there, so it wasn't wasted.
All that to say, I get what all the hype was about. Hats off, DC.