BELLEVILLE – Cherry Blossom-lined Mertz Avenue was transformed into an open-air yoga studio for about 50 people who spent Wednesday afternoon holding the lotus, the downward dog and other poses.

The “Street Yoga Under the Cherry Blossoms” event led by Yogi Michelle Petersen of Signature Fitness was another sign of pre-pandemic living in Belleville.

Council members Naomy De Peña and Vinny Cozzarelli, and Board of Education member Gabrielle Bennett-Meany took part in the annual event just over the border from Newark. The springtime yoga was canceled in 2020 because the COVID-19 health crisis.

“This is just one of the most picturesque little streets in Belleville – the perfect example of why we are widely known as the Cherry Blossom Capital of America,” Mayor Michael Melham said. “This was a great way for residents to come out, stretch a bit and enjoy the spring beauty of Belleville.”