The Best Time and Place To Watch The Leaves Change In NYC
New York State is known for its beautiful fall foliage, and NYC is no exception! Just because we’re in the midst of the concrete jungle doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of spots to appreciate nature without even leaving the limits of Manhattan. Below, we’ll share a few of our favorite places to appreciate autumn foliage in all its magnificent red, orange, yellow, and golden glory…all near your Glenwood apartment!
When To Watch
The leaves usually peak (it can vary depending on weather conditions) in New York City during the last week of October and the first week of November, so mark your calendar to plan an outdoor exhibition at this time. Depending on how much time you have, a full day in nature can be absolutely rejuvenating for the soul (especially as we launch into one of the most busy seasons in NYC–the holidays.) But even if you only have an afternoon, or even an hour, it’s still totally worth bundling up and heading to the great outdoors.
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What To Bring
Much like any trek into nature, you’ll appreciate this one most if you come prepared. We suggest making sure your attire is leaf peeping appropriate: think comfy hiking boots or sneakers, wool socks, a warm sweater, and any outerwear you need to layer on top to feel warm (coat, scarf, gloves, and hat–all depending on the weather and your personal temperature needs, of course.) Next, pack a backpack with a water bottle, thermos filled with your warm beverage of choice (cider or hot chocolate are two of our favorites), as well as plenty of snacks to tide you over (trail mix, granola bars, or even a homemade pumpkin bread are things you can’t go wrong with!) And finally, make sure to bring either your fully charged camera or phone for taking photos of the gorgeous foliage. This is the perfect time to snap what could be your best holiday card photo yet!
Where To Go
Central Park is probably the first spot to come to mind when you think of being in nature in Manhattan, and for good reason. The park has many different places that are ideal for watching the glorious changing leaves–if you’re pressed for time, try just one. If you have an entire day, try them all!
- North Woods: The North Woods is one of the park’s three woodlands, and along with beautiful foliage, you will be sure to appreciate wildlife and rustic features that will leave you feeling like you’re hiking through the Catskills.
- The Ramble: The Ramble is known as being one of the most iconic spots in NYC for appreciating fall foliage, and it’s easy to see why. Although there are walking paths and the occasional bench, making your way through the woods feels like the real deal. At points it aligns with The Pond, and there are plenty of species of birds fluttering about, so you truly are immersed in nature.
- The Pool: Trees you will find here include the red maple, hickory, tupelo, bald cypress, and sugar maple. You can imagine the fiery beauty as the leaves begin to change! There’s a bridge and waterfall in the area, too.
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- Hallett Nature Sanctuary and The Pond: One of the newest additions to the park (which still remains quite hidden) is the Hallett Nature Sanctuary. There is a small gate that opens into this forested oasis, and while it’s just steps away from the hustle and bustle of Midtown East and residential buildings such as The Bristol, you literally are immersed in trees on all sides of you. A plus about this little haven? The hike goes vertical, so there’s plenty of scenic overlooks in the area, from viewing the top of a waterfall, to the entire Upper East Side. Not to be missed!
- Moving away from Central Park, Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side has almost 15 acres of beautiful trees changing into fall colors (and in the spring, the site of some beautiful cherry blossoms). This popular park also has a playground, and wide-open vistas of the East River. Residents of several Glenwood buildings, including The Andover and The Cambridge, both just a block from the park, will find this a convenient way to get in some fall foliage viewing.
- If you find yourself on the (way, way) Upper Westside, check out Fort Tryon Park and Inwood Hill Park. These reside at the tippy top of Manhattan, and there’s plenty of hilly hiking paths to appreciate as you make your way through the woods. Fort Tryon Park is also the home of The Cloisters, which is part of The Met. You can make a day of visiting the museum and leaf-peeping—well worth a subway, cab or Uber ride uptown.