WHERE TO SPOT FALL FOLIAGE IN NYC
It is a beautiful time of year, late September into early October when the leaves begin to change colors reflecting a vibrant, colorful bowl of fruit loops presuming the elements permit; and there is no place else like the Northeast to witness it. You might be surprised to find out that you can partake in this long-standing Columbus Day weekend activity right here in New York City. From Brooklyn’s lush and wide-open green spaces to hidden nooks and crannies of Central Park – here is your guide to Leaf Peeping in New York City, no car or binoculars needed:
Prospect Park – At almost a quarter-mile in length, Long Meadow is officially “the longest greensward in an American urban park” with an infinite amount of acreage ripe with bright orange and red leaves atop Sugar and Red Maple Trees for your viewing pleasure. Elsewhere, wide open vistas of great color can be seen at the Peninsula and Lullwater portions of the park where Sour Gum and Sassagfras trees wait until the tail end of October to display an array of hues.
New York Botanical Garden – Don’t underestimate the power of this year-round natural sanctuary nestled uptown in the Bronx where 250 acres of woodlands in the Thain Family Forest boast the city’s largest patch of old-growth forest with trees dating back to the 19th century, and a wide range of species including oak, red maple, tulip, scarlet oak and Sweet gums with star-shaped leaves that turn red and purple throughout the season.
Greenbelt Nature Center – South of Manhattan lies 2,800 acres of interconnected open space at the Staten Island Greenbelt Nature Center where a whopping 35 miles of trails wind intricately through parks and woodland including the eight-mile Yellow trail that passes Moses’ Mountain with panoramic views of surrounding trees from atop the well known 260-foot hill. A perfect combination of oak, sweet gum, tulip, sassafras and red maple trees provide a fiery blaze of color, while on the other side of the Mountain clusters of red maple trees lie toward the 90-acre High Rock Park .
Green-Wood Cemetery – 478 acres of beautiful nature preserve and arboretum are at your disposal to explore over 8,000 species of trees including New York City’s oldest sassafras dating back to 1838.
Alley Pond Park – A rare glimpse into New York’s geological past can be found in Queens at Alley Pond Park where numerous trails are decorated by almost 30,000 native hardwood species. The Tulip Tree Trail is just over half a mile long making it manageable for almost everyone and moreover, the park is allegedly home to NYC’s oldest and largest tulip poplar called the “Alley Pond Giant” measuring in at a towering 133.8 feet tall.
Van Cortlandt Park – Over 1,000 acres and an estimated 80,000 trees make this Bronx spot ideal for leaf-peepers in search of oak, sweet gum, and hickory trees that display rust and orange colored leaves, and unmatched views from a 1.1-mile nature walk along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail .
Central Park – Download the official Central Park fall foliage map and make your way to Belvedere Castle, the undisputed best spot for panoramic views of the entire range of colors from Elm, Oak and Maple trees that are peppered throughout. Additional points of interest include the Conservatory located at 5th Avenue and 72nd street that reveals berry covered hawthorn trees, and the Ramble offers 38-acres in the middle of Central Park. Enter between 100th and 103rd Streets to continue your trek in the North Woods alongside the Ravine featuring brooks, various oaks, elm, red maple and black cherry trees.
Circle Line Fall Foliage Cruise – Up and down Hudson Valley lies one of New York state’s most bucolic and rustic scenery for the quintessential fall getaway that includes a half-day New York water taxi excursion to Bear Mountain area that allows you to enjoy a 360 degree backdrop from a Hudson River vantage point complimented by a rainbow of autumn colors that glisten off the tranquil blue water.
Inwood Hill Park – Sign up for a Fall Foliage Hike and discover numerous trails that wind through Manhattan’s last remaining naturally occurring native hardwood forest, known as Inwood Hill Park, where a certified Urban Park Ranger will guide you through paved paths and numerous trails underneath a blanket of fall foliage.
Fort Greene Park – This wide open space is one of New York City’s most celebrated parks, and is Brooklyn’s oldest major park where over 30 acres of grassy expanse is uniquely situated at the apex of a 148 foot Prison Ships Martyr’s Monument, surrounded by an arsenal of enormous London planes trees, stately elms, oaks, and glowing ginko trees with shiny, golden fan shaped leaves.
Wave Hill Park – The changing colors along the New Jersey Palisades is a timeless experience and must be witnessed from Wave Hill Park, that at more then a century old remains as the crown jewel of Riverdale’s park areas. Take in calming views of the Hudson River and enjoy colorful foliage at its seasonal peak among the Gardens at Wave Hill where a myriad of trees serve as the cornerstone of the landscape. Dramatic rust colored leaves sway atop Bald Cyprus trees and low drooping branches hang from one of North America’s most attractive tree species, Tupelos.
Share your Fall Foliage photos with us in the comments below, and learn more about the best neighborhood attractions from all of Halstead Property’s local expert agents.