As any good New Yorker will tell you, in the weeks between the end of September and the beginning of December, New York transforms into an ethereal place, becoming even more quintessentially itself—even more beautiful, with even more delightful experiences. From goldening leaves to celebratory fests and cooler weather all around, the autumnal charms of this town are legion. Here are the Knickerbocker’s take on how to experience NYC in the fall.
Guide to NYC in the Fall
The best place of course for leaf-peeping is Central Park, but the best of the best place to visit is the Mall, which runs through the middle of the park from 66th to 72nd street. This formal promenade has one of the largest plantations of American elm trees in the country, which form a stunning golden canopy over the walkway come the first few weeks of fall. The mall’s south side has a literary walk. In addition to Shakespeare, there you will find a likeness of Fitz-Greene Halleck, the first statue of an American to be placed in the park and a luminary of New York’s literary group, The Knickerbockers. In peak season the park is rife with great viewing opportunities. Here is a list of favorites from the park’s own staff.
They don’t call New York City “the Big Apple” for nothing, New York state grows more than 1 billion pounds of apples each year in more varieties than any other state. New Yorkers take advantage of apple-picking season from September through October for weekend trips to the country. But there are plenty of ways to participate in the city too. Take a stroll through one of the city’s many green markets for fresh, hot apple cider. Or visit one of the many bars and restaurants that celebrate locally-made hard cider, like Anfora and El Quinto Pino.
Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pale ales, pumpkin breads and pies…the senses are inundated with harvest gourds in October. But nowhere does pumpkin better than the New York Botanical Garden, about 20 minutes north from Grand Central Terminal. Each year the botanical garden hosts some of the nation’s biggest pumpkins, with some weighing in at more than 1000 pounds. A pumpkin carving display by Ray Villafane Studios features the coolest and most lifelike pumpkins around.
Toward the end of summer, street fair season picks up, crossing avenues all across the city, from Park Avenue to South Street Seaport. The Indian Summer days at the end of September are the best time to walk these lively streets, filled with food, crafts and music, when the heat has softened, and cooler breezes pick up. Along Mulberry Street in New York City’s Little Italy is perhaps the longest-running of these, celebrating the 91st annual Feast of San Gennaro this year.
When the Rockefeller Center Rink re-opens in the middle of October, it’s as if things just seem right again. There are many rinks located throughout the city, from Central Park to Prospect Park, but this one with its location just beneath the forthcoming tree, makes us all warm and fuzzy inside for the holidays.