Fall for New York

’Tis the season for the crunch of leaves under your feet

Fall for Foliage

Beginning in mid- to late-October, green spaces in the five boroughs provide a pageant of brilliant colors, ripe for viewing and photo ops. With a vivid yellow canopy of American elms, The Mall in Central Park (midpark, W. 66th St. to W. 72nd sts.) is an obvious spot for an afternoon outing. Stroll with friends or solo and collect your thoughts. The North Woods (midpark, at W. 102nd St.) will leave you feeling as if you’ve escaped to the country: Be on the lookout for black cherry, pin, red and scarlet oaks, and red maples, as these beauties shift to their intense autumn hues. 

The Medieval Period acts as inspiration for plantings at The Cloisters (99 Margaret Corbin Dr., 212.923.3700), where you’ll discover autumn joy sedums, asters and salvias blooming to their fullest in the Ornamental Garden. For foliage and a view, gaze across the Hudson River to the New Jersey Palisades—maple, sweet gum, poplar and birch trees promise a panorama of yellow, orange and red.

Trade in the concrete of Manhattan for lush landscaping at Wave Hill (649 W. 249th St., Riverdale, 718.549.3200) in the Bronx. In the Flower Garden, see the ferny foliage of the cutleaf Japanese maple, which transforms to a brilliant shade of burnt
orange. In the Glyndor Gallery, copper beech trees transition from a dark purple to a deep red, and bald cypress trees become a magnificent coppery bronze. 

In Queens, Forest Park (1 Forest Dr., Woodhaven, 718.235.0815) boasts the largest continuous oak forest in the borough. Ramble on the forest trail and take note of the grand oaks that are over 150 years old, as well as dogwood, sassafras and cork trees in shades of dark red to bold yellow. Other trees of note in Forest Park are the scarlet oak, shagbark hickory and wild black cherry. 

In Brooklyn’s Prospect Park (Parkside Ave. & Ocean Ave., Prospect Heights), an umbrella of majestic trees cap  the grounds as they transform from lush green to bright shades of amber and gold. Commemorate the park’s 150th anniversary with a fall foliage walk starting at Grand Army Plaza near Prospect Park West. Stroll toward the Meadowport Arch and notice a gingko, nyssa and Japanese maple. If timed right, you’ll see stunning fall colors tumble from the top down.  

From the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan, climb aboard the Staten Island Ferry and head to Snug Harbor
Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
(1000 Richmond Terr., Snug Harbor, 718.425.3504). Meander down Cottage Row, where autumn hues stand front and center at the Pond Garden, the Carl Grillo Glass House and the pleached allée (allée is French for avenue), an arch modeled after a European garden.


Fall for Shopping 

Fall brings a bevy of opportunities for browsing and buying throughout the city’s diverse shops. At NoLIta’s Love Adorned (269 Elizabeth St., 212.431.5683), peruse a varied selection of jewelry and decorative items, such as embroidered vegetables by fine art sculptor Rachel Nettles. Sewn layer upon layer with each stitch made from different colors and weights of thread, every sculpture is individually shaped. 

Shop midcentury modern home furnishings and unusual accoutrements at Jonathan Adler (1097 Madison Ave., 212.772.2410, and several other locations). Get spooked by the brass skull box, a decorative container made from solid polished brass on a blackened brass base with a hidden hinge that adds an edge to any table setting, just in time for Halloween.

For the eco-conscious, browse unusual gifts, housewares and tchotchkes at Magpie (488 Amsterdam Ave., 212.579.3003). Handprinted yellow, green and orange gingko-leaf towels from Kei and Molly are a gentle reminder of fall’s colorful palette. The earth-friendly towels are sewn from flour-sack cotton and use nontoxic ink. 

In Hell’s Kitchen, dapper fellows can hunt for dandy-inspired bow ties, suspenders, caps and other garments and accessories at Fine & Dandy (445 W. 49th St., 212.247.4847), a treasure trove of fantastic finds. This season, adorable tweed teddy bears and soft flannel nightshirts imported from Ireland can warm you up on chilly October nights. 


Fall for Beer and Eats

As Oktoberfest cools down, NYC’s craft beer scene heats up. At Arts & Crafts Beer Parlor (26 W. 8th St., 646.678.5263, and one other location),  a tavern-meets-art-gallery, choose from 24 rotating beers on tap and a lineup of bottles. For fall, count on cold-weather brews, including Märzen lager, maple porter and pumpkin beer, as well as barrel-aged stouts. When hunger calls, opt for a Bavarian pretzel with a side of beer cheese, paired best with an IPA. Or head north to Flatiron’s Eataly (200 FifthAve., 212.229.2560), where restaurants serving seasonal roasts, vegetables, hearth-baked breads and craft beers await.

In Brooklyn, Radegast Hall & Biergarten (113 N. 3rd St., Williamsburg, 718.963.3973) continues the momentum of Oktoberfest. Quaff Hofbräu Oktoberfest and Weihenstephaner Oktoberfest at the main bar and choose from nine other rotating beers in the back haus through mid-October.

Food and beer are a winning combination, and that’s evident at Lower East Side Asian eatery Char Sue (119 Essex St., 646.484.9241). Perfect for fall, crispy Brussels sprouts are a menu favorite and the Asian-inspired preparation makes them irresistible. This salty, sweet and sour dish pairs wonderfully with an IPA or a Reissdorf  Kölsch. 

Enjoyed by beer and wine lovers alike, hard cider takes the Big Apple by storm during Cider Week (various locations, cider
weeknyc.com) Oct. 20-29. A tent at Union Square Greenmarket kicks off festivities, with makers offering samples and selling their ciders from New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes. Cheers!