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Indecisive. Curious. Nostalgic. Adventurous. Experiential learner.

Adventurous daydreamer. Easily lost in thought. Amazed and amused by everyday happenings.

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Travel Guide to New York City autumn views in Central Park


New York Autumn - Central Park’s Most Beautiful Views


Around this time every year, I get a ton of messages and emails asking me when the leaves are changing in Central Park and what the best places are to soak in the best of Central Park in the autumn.

Central Park turns into a magical autumn wonderland in the fall.

Let’s explore:

What’s more romantic than 2 bicycles waiting next to trees dripping with autumn foliage? This photo was taken on the east side of Central Park near the East 70s. I usually enter the park in this area. It’s full of rolling hills. If you wander around during the peak of autumn, you are bound to catch views like this in quite a few places in this area:


If you happen to be in Central Park when the fall foliage is at its peak, make sure you stick around for an autumn sunset. This photo was taken adjacent to The Mall in Central Park. No, The Mall is not a giant shopping center. Rather, The Mall is a section of Central Park that runs from 66th to 72nd Street.

I usually enter Central Park from the east side of the park and follow the signs to get to The Mall. This is a pathway that is right next to The Mall. It has an abundance of trees that turn red in the autumn which makes it ideal for sunset gazing.


Right next to the Loeb Boathouse which is on the east side of the park near 72nd Street, is one of the most beautiful parts of Central Park in the autumn. The willow trees here turn the most vibrant shades of yellow and orange at peak foliage and you get a perfect view of San Remo (the two-towered building in this photo) as well as people in row boats on The Lake enjoying the last vestiges of nice weather.


Another favorite spot which I mentioned above is The Mall and Literary Walk (also known as Central Park’s Poet’s Walk). Central Park’s gorgeous elm trees form a giant canopy above the bucolic landscape.

This is Central Park’s Mall at dusk on a gorgeous autumn evening.


Adjacent to Central Park’s Mall are a line of protected elm trees. The elm trees in Central Park are some of the last remaining American elm trees in the world. Make sure you explore the area around the Mall and you will be rewarded with this amazing view of the elm trees whose leaves turn the most vibrant yellow and gold at peak foliage.


After you admire the elm trees, take a walk around the benches that surround the Mall on the side of the Mall leading to Bethesda Fountain. I love this area because at autumn’s peak, the leaves carpet the ground.


Bow Bridge is always my main goal when I go to Central Park to view the peak fall foliage. It’s a fairytale setting that seems to have made its way into reality. It’s also made an appearance in a Dr. Who episode and a ton of films (Spiderman 3 being one of them). Bow Bridge is located right in the middle of the park overlooking The Lake.

It is between 74th and 75th Streets and the easiest way to find Bow Bridge is to head to Bethesda Fountain and then follow the path from there to the Bridge. Central Park is an easy place to get lost in (even I get lost there on a regular basis despite going there often) but there are signs everywhere and I have never failed to find a knowledgeable NYer who is willing to help with directions (and who isn’t directionally challenged like I am!).


If you walk south away from The Mall on the East Side of Central Park and you are in the vicinity of the Alice in Wonderland sculpture (which is near 74th Street), there are a series of large rocks that people love to climb. The light is absolutely stunning there during the autumn especially when the leaves are covering the ground.


If you decide to follow the perimeter of The Lake instead of going south after gazing at Bow Bridge, you will be greeted with views like this.


Bow Bridge is also beautiful to view from the other side of The Lake. If you wait until the hour before sunset, the sun tends to set almost directly above Bow Bridge when you are standing (or sitting) at this vantage point.


If you are feeling slightly adventurous, definitely explore The Ramble. The Ramble is in the middle of Central Park between 73rd and and 79th Streets. It is 36 acres of something known as a “wild garden”. It was designed as a total escape from the city proper and has many winding paths through a gloriously rugged landscape.

In the autumn, it comes alive with color.


The rustic bridges in The Ramble are also beautiful when surrounded by fall foliage.


And finally, do not forget to walk down Central Park’s Bridle Path. The Bridle Path is runs adjacent to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The reservoir runs from 85th Street to 96th street on the east side of the park.

During the autumn, the trees perfectly frame the skyline of Central Park West.



Frequently Asked Questions:


Are these the only beautiful autumn landscapes in Central Park?

If you notice, a lot of my top views are near the east side of the park. This is because for about 7 years I lived on the border of the Upper East Side and Harlem and I would walk down to this area to acquaint myself with Central Park. Familiarity breeds unabashed love.

Are there gorgeous areas of Central Park on the west side or further north and south? Of course there are. Central Park stretches across 840 acres of Manhattan. I just happen to be extremely enamored of this particular area due to my familiarity with it and my love of Bow Bridge.

Quite honestly, at the peak of autumn, you can’t really go wrong with most parts of Central Park. It’s basically an autumn wonderland full of fall foliage and piles of leaves.


When do the leaves change in Central Park?

Great question! I can give you only an approximate answer though since the peak has varied wildly over the last few years due to extreme weather (Hurricane Irene and Sandy).

Usually peak fall foliage in Central Park occurs towards the beginning of November. If New York City gets a lot of rain though, the quality of the fall foliage will vary. Lots of rain means less leaves on the trees and a less lush appearance during the peak. Also, if New York City is incredibly dry, the peak can take longer to occur.

Some years, peak foliage has occurred early towards the middle to end of October. The 2014 autumn season looks like it is starting a bit early. I have seen leaves changing already and the weather has been cool. These signs lead me to believe that we will see more color in October this year which is exciting!


How long does peak fall foliage last?

Not long enough.

No really. It’s only vibrant like in the photos in this post for around two to three weeks. Sometimes that time is cut short by rainfall and/or early snow. I wish it lasted for a month or two!



I hope you have enjoyed my autumn tour through Central Park :).


Looking for these (and more) New York City autumn photos to view larger? Here you go (click or tap on each photo to view larger):

New York Autumn

Looking to buy any of these autumn photos as prints? Here they are in an autumn gallery over in my online print portfolio:

Central Park Autumn


* All photos taken by me with a variety of Sony cameras over the years.


Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it):

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book


View: My photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

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Travel New York City in photos….


All about my New York coffee table book via Tumblr’s official Books Tumblr (a great one to follow!). Thanks Tumblr! ♥ you.


NY Through The Lens - The Book!

I am super excited to announce this news!

My New York City photography book is currently available for pre-sale.

Will the book be releasing in physical stores as well?

Yes! It will be at major retailers like Barnes and Noble here in the United States as well as many other retailers in the US and UK.

Here is a new page with an ongoing listing of physical retail and online locations to purchase the book:

NY Through The Lens - Book - Retail Locations

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