NYC Has Fall Foliage, Too!

I feel like a common misconception about NYC is that it’s got ZERO nature. True, the concrete-to-tree ratio is objectively depressing for the outdoor enthusiast, but the city has prioritized going green in recent years: from dedicated bike lanes to the random green spaces scattered about to new pedestrian paths like the High Line and the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. In total, there are over 1700 parks and recreation facilities across New York City – who knew?

In other words: New York has plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures. How else would I have lasted 7 years here?

Fall foliage leaves 

One of my favorite local outdoor adventures is catching the NYC fall foliage each year. From early to mid-November, what trees it has explode in color. Its parks and even some of its tree-lined streets become a blur of orange and yellow. While it’s fun to escape for some fall activities (for example: Storm King Art Center, The Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze), you can totally get your fill of fall foliage right in New York City!

Central Park fall foliage 

Fall Foliage in Central Park

Fall is a crazy-popular time for weddings in NYC. With moderate weather and plentiful foliage, it’s totally understandable why this would be. October was my busiest shooting month this year, but I loved every bit of it! My favorite wedding was hands-down the NYC elopement I shot just as the leaves were starting to turn in late October. Having a bright yellow blurred foliage backdrop behind the bride’s white wedding dress was just FANTASTIC.

SHAMELESS PLUG: If you’re in need of an Australia Wedding Photographer in 2015, or know someone who may be, please oh please get in touch! More gigs = more affordable outdoor adventures!

Central Park fall foliage wedding

australia wedding photographer 

I took this Central Park foliage photo at least 5 years ago, but I love the colors so much that I had it printed on a canvas that still hangs in my bedroom. I’ve never seen Central Park this colorful since then!

Central Park fall foliage 

I’m not sure if there’s a science to this, but I’ve noticed that the NYC fall foliage is more yellow than anything else. I’ve never seen the trees at The Mall anything other than green or yellow.

Central Park fall foliage

Central Park fall foliage 

When I’m leaf peeping, I always try to stop by ponds and lakes where I can get a good reflection shot of the foliage on the water. This year, my first attempt was on a very windy day (see the first photo below) – i.e. no still water to reflect the trees. My next attempt proved more fruitful, both in weather conditions and level of foliage (see the 3 photos after the first one below).

Central Park fall foliage

Central Park fall foliage

Central Park fall foliage

Central Park fall foliage 

Bethesda Fountain and the Central Park Boathouse are super touristic, but you can’t NOT pay them a visit, at least every once in awhile – preferably when the trees are looking like this!

Central Park fall foliage 

Fall Foliage in Brooklyn

One of the more appealing aspects to Brooklyn is that it offers more space, resulting in larger apartments, and – gasp! – more outdoor space. Frolicking is a lot more enjoyable when you’re ambling down a street lined with trees and little gardens, specifically when the trees have donned their autumnal coloring.

Cobble Hill fall foliage 

Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s answer to Central Park. It is significantly less crowded, which automatically earns it extra points in my book. One year I managed to catch some great shots of the foliage reflected on the pond —

Prospect Park fall foliage

NYBG fall foliage

Fall foliage leaves 

And finally, I’d be remiss not to include some fall foliage from my local park, McGolrick Park, in Greenpoint.

McGolrick Park fall foliage

McGolrick Park fall foliage 

Where’s your favorite spot to catch NYC fall foliage?

Lindsay Buckley is the photographer and travel blogger behind Frugal Frolicker. She's a New Yorker currently based in Sydney, Australia, documenting outdoor travel experiences Down Under and beyond. Follow along with Lindsay's travel photography on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to sign up for the monthly Frugal Frolicker newsletter!

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  • Once again, amazing photos. That wedding you shot looks gorgeous—I love the bride’s dress, especially against that background. My favorite picture is of the duck in the pond at prospect park. Does Australia get these colors?!?

    • lindsaypunk

      Thanks girl! I’m blushing :P I actually completely forgot I took that photo, but found it while rummaging through my archives. Somehow I doubt Aussie gets the same fall colors that Northeast US does, but hey – it’s a tradeoff for the ridic beaches I’ll get to see there!

  • Great shots, I especially love the one you took that hangs on your wall – simply stunning! I also went to shoot CP this fall but never got around to posting the pics haha. I also like how you included Brooklyn in there, I haven’t seen much of it in the fall.

    • lindsaypunk

      I know, right? I’m pretty bad about leaf peeping in my own borough, and have only been to Prospect Park twice in 7 years during fall. It’s way more peaceful there though, definitely worth checking out if you can next fall!

  • Wow ! These photos are fantastic ! I’m hoping i’ll have a shot at taking my own photos of this beauty in 2015… Fingers crossed !

    • lindsaypunk

      Are you coming to NYC next year?? If so, YAY! I’ll be posting a bit more about New York even after I move, so let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to cover!

      • If everything goes the way it’s supposed to, i might go on my 3rd trip to NYC during fall 2015 (with my mom this time, who is also a fan of those fall colors)…
        I’ll first go through your every posts about it, then if i need something more, i’ll tell you !

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