New York lifestyle

It’s easy to think of New York City as a concrete jungle, but this region of New York State has many green spaces across its five boroughs that become embellished with colorful fall plumage. The same can be said for Long Island. While its beaches make this a hot summer getaway destination, Long Island gets its fair share of fall foliage across its parks, arboretums, and other public spots. Here is your guide for where to wander amid the leaves and trees across New York City and Long Island.

Masks are encouraged, but optional in most settings per New York State guidelines. Individual businesses or attractions may require mask wearing. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions and amenities are open and available.

New York City’s most famous park has roughly 18,000 trees that turn yellow, orange, and red across its various landscapes. There are a number of places throughout Central Park to take in their beauty including The Ramble, Bow Bridge (pictured), East Meadow, Conservatory Garden, The Mall, a pedestrian pathway, and the Bethesda Terrace, with its iconic Bethesda Fountain.

This park within Manhattan’s northernmost neighborhood of Inwood puts a natural spin on the term “Old New York.” It contains NYC’s last remaining natural salt marsh, and also is adorned with a forest lush with mature red oaks and tulip trees. Much of Inwood Hill Park remains untouched, as shifting glaciers created still standing rock formations and a glacial pothole. For the best fall foliage views, take the Blue Trail which leads up to the park’s overlook, affording gorgeous vistas of the Hudson River and the awe-inspiring Palisades.

As one of Manhattan’s highest points, Fort Tryon Park towers over the Hudson River offering unbeatable views of the 300-foot cliffs of the Palisades. Take in the scenic vista from a bench in Linden Terrace or soak in the colors as you stroll along the pathways of the enchanting Heather Garden, NYC’s largest public garden which is hosting an autumn highlights tour on November 5. You can also take in fall foliage while working up a sweat during the park’s free “Forest Fitness” exercise classes. Fort Tryon Park is also home to The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an indoor-outdoor museum dedicated exclusively to Medieval art and architecture.

At the cost of a subway or bus ride, catch a lift on the urban tramway to Roosevelt Island to take in overhead fall foliage views while traveling 240 feet above the East River. Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, on the southern tip of the island, is surrounded with Little Leaf Linden trees that create a dramatic corridor to the 7,700-ton granite memorial of the former president as they transform into a rich golden yellow in the fall.

Amid the botanical garden’s 250 acres, there are many gorgeous fall foliage photo ops. A top spot is within the Thain Family Forest, New York’s largest old-growth original wooded landscape, so incredible that its trees go back as far as the Revolutionary War. This forest is also the scene for NYBG’s “Fall Forest Weekends” (November 4-5 and 12-13), that will offer Native American Heritage Month activities, tours, educational demonstrations, and more. The Perennial Garden gets speckled with orange, red, purple and yellow, and the Native Plant Garden turns shades of gold. NYBG’s prestigious maple collection, with Japanese maple cultivars and other towering specimens, provides quite the picturesque backdrop. Stroll along the Marjorie G. Rosen Seasonal Walk, where asters bloom alongside waving grasses turning red and russet competing for your camera’s attention.