The easiest way to see leaves, of course, is to find a copse or thicket and just look up – but what’s the fun in that? Here are five fun, original ways to take in the fall foliage. Just make sure to check the official Fall Foliage Report before you head out to leaf peep and oogle. By Jessica Allen.
Classic Harbor Line Cruises
The Hudson Valley has some of the most multi-hued foliage around, in colors like mango, plum, cranberry, lime, and sunshine. A cruise north along the Hudson River takes you past the Upper West Side, beneath the George Washington Bridge, by the Palisades, the dramatic, tree-dotted cliffs of the Hudson River Valley, and into tiny Dobbs Ferry, in Westchester County. Classic Harbor Line’s version comes with brunch, including complimentary champagne, and utilizes a New York state-built ship styled to look like a 1920s yacht, with mahogany railings and polished teak decks.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar
Each summer the Metropolitan Museum of Art invites an artist to contribute a work or series of works to adorn its roof deck. It takes a talented, creative craftsperson to compete with the views up there, which sweep across Central Park and culminate in some of the most expensive real estate in the world, including the Time Warner Center and the San Remo. Tomás Saraceno’s “Cloud City” remains on view through mid-November, offering twisted takes on the trees and skyline through its interactive polished steel and plexiglass polyhedrons. Signing the waiver to walk around, through, and atop these pods is well worth it.
Storm King Art Center
Storm King Art Center pits human art against nature’s art in a wonderful battle that nobody loses. This sculpture park in the Hudson Valley specializes in monumental, ginormous works by contemporary artists like Mark di Suvero, Maya Lin, and Richard Serra. Curators have thoughtfully situated each one so that its placement in the environment is as much a focal point as the work itself. Wild grasses and flowers brush against burnished steel; the Schunnemunk and Storm King Mountains rise up like the swell of a welded joint. And, it’s just an hour away from New York City!
Franklin Avenue Shuttle
In Brooklyn, the S train only goes four stops: from Franklin Avenue to Prospect Park, and back again, a two-car, two-train loop. Opened in the late 19th century, the tiny line was scheduled for demolition in the early 1980s. Community opposition changed the MTA’s mind and the line was renovated in the late 1990s. Much of the ride is elevated, making for nice views of Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Perhaps the best view comes as the subway heads through a small swatch of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden—you can leaf peep without leaving your seat.
Pelham Bay Park
More than three times the size of Central Park, Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in New York City. Among the treasures of this idyllic slice of the Bronx are hiking trails, the Bartow-Pell Mansion, Orchard Beach, not one but two golf courses, and 13 miles of saltwater shoreline abutting the Long Island Sound. Not surprisingly, the 2,700+ acres boast a lot of trees. A lot of trees. While we have Robert Moses to thank for a still-cool, art deco bathhouse complex (and nearby parking lot), we have conservation groups to thank for asking the city to preserve almost 400 acres of marshland as a wildlife refuge in 1967 and the Department of Parks and Recreation to thank for keeping them healthy and alive.