Autumn in New York is known for its beautiful palette of fall colors, and a favorite pastime this time of year is to find places with the best views of changing leaves. If you're looking for a few good suggestions of where to try, here are a few ideas, many of them off the beaten path for a better chance at unsullied fall splendor.
New York Botanical Garden
The Thain Family Forest at the New York Botanical Garden offers a luxurious 250 acres of fall foliage. This woodland wonderland contains a wide variety of species, from the familiar oak and red maple, to scarlet oak and sweet gum, both of which turn especially brilliant shades of red and even purple. This forest is like a time capsule into the history of New York, as some of the trees span three centuries.
Walkway Over the Hudson
Once a railway overpass, this bridge spans more than a mile over the Hudson River, and is a popular pedestrian walkway. For the best fall foliage viewing, walk out into the middle area of the bridge, right over the center of the river. The bridge is 212 feet high here and provides an excellent view of both thickly (and colorfully) forested banks.
Adirondack Scenic Railroad's Fall Foliage Train
For a more relaxing way to enjoy the fall foliage, take a ride on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad from the Utica Station. The Fall Foliage route takes you through five hours' worth of Adirondack foothills, across rivers and streams and through a fall rainbow of forests. Sit back and enjoy the view!
Fall Foliage Cruise
If relaxing on the train while you chug past autumn scenery sounds appealing to you, you might also enjoy the Grand Palisades Fall Foliage Cruise aboard Manhattan Yachts. The entire trip will take anywhere from two to three hours on the yacht, and from three to four hours on a schooner, while you traverse the Hudson River and enjoy views of both banks. The yacht provides both indoor and outdoor viewing areas, so that you can retreat inside to get away from chilly temperatures.
Van Cortlandt Park
Even the largest city parks might seem small compared to this 1,000-acre wooded haven in the Bronx. With around 80,000 trees, there is no shortage of fall foliage viewing in Van Dortlandt Park. The park features the 1.1-mile Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, which traces the path of the original tunnel that provided water to New York City from Croton Reservoir. Here, many beautiful oak, hickory, maple, sweet gum, and tulip trees can be seen in all their autumn glory.
This unique rooftop venue offers breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. The waterfront parks along East River show their colors this time of year, and 74Wythe presents an excellent place to view the changing seasons NYC-style, with a backdrop of Manhattan's towering skyscrapers. With views like these, 74Wythe also presents a perfect Brooklyn wedding venue any time of year, but its special retractable glass canopy makes it an excellent choice for fall. Hold your event with a backdrop of some of New York's best autumn views, but without the pesky risk of foul weather.
The Streets of New York City
If you prefer the road less traveled, instead of heading into popular parks and botanic gardens for fall foliage viewing, check out these sights right around town. You'll find picturesque fall foliage among beautiful brick-front buildings on Irving Place between East 14th and 21st Streets, while Park Slope on Fifth Avenue between Bergen and 9th offers brownstones, bookshops, and adorably quaint streets full of tall trees.
Of course, it's important to remember that fall is all around us. No need to make a date or travel somewhere special to see it, although of course those kinds of day trips can be a lot of fun! Catch a little bit of New York's stunning fall foliage every time you walk out your door, and try not to forget about the beauty that surrounds you every day.