Fall is arguably the most beautiful time for Northeast America; the seasonal forests that characterize the area blaze in brilliant reds, oranges and yellows, attracting tourists from across the nation. The Hudson River, flanked by gorgeous forests and cliffs, is a sight not to be missed and luckily, it’s easily accessible with a swipe of $2.75 on your metrocard.
Here are some recommendations of parks to travel to before midterms and cold weather keep students tethered to their academic buildings.
Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx
What it is: At 2,772 acres, New York City’s largest public park has been home to plenty of history: the arrival of New York City’s first Dutch settlers, the establishment of a couple of wildlife sanctuaries and the construction of Orchard Beach, a 1.1 mile stretch of man-made beach that’s been called “The Bronx’s Riviera.” Extending into Westchester County, this park is in the Bronx’s northeastern corner bordered by the Long Island Sound.
What to do: Pack a good lunch, snacks and a reusable water bottle and go explore the biggest park in NYC with a friend. There are plenty of walking trails leading to the park’s various attractions. City Island is a popular destination; its main avenue is lined with seafood restaurants and antique shops, and it offers scenic views of its marina and the park. City Island is accessible via the park and is close to Orchard Beach.
How to get there: Take the 6 train to Pelham Bay Park, the last stop. Once you’re off the train, you can follow signs into the massive park or you can take a bus, the Bx29, which will take you to City Island.
Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan
What it is: This park, dedicated to public use since 1935, is on the northwestern tip of Manhattan Island overlooking the Hudson River. There is beautiful foliage (over 500 varieties of plants, trees and shrubs) along winding stone paths that interlace with each other. This park also features the Cloisters, an outpost of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that houses more than 5,000 medieval artifacts.
What to do: Wear comfortable shoes and visit the Cloisters, open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at a recommended admission price. Walk along the paths and take in the scenic vistas, and perhaps visit NYC’s largest dog run.
How to get there: Take the A train to 190 Street Station. Exit the station via the service elevator and be marveled by the park as you step out. Follow additional signage to enter Fort Tryon Park, and follow a path to reach the Cloisters.
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens
What it is: New York City’s fourth largest public park was born from a dumping ground of ashes to become the site of the 1939 World’s Fair, later hosting the 1964 World’s Fair, and it has hosted the U.S. Tennis Open since 1978. The park contains some of the famous structures that were built for the World’s Fair, including the iconic Unisphere, a huge steel globe surrounded by a fountain, and the New York State Pavilion, a series of tall futuristic platforms with no current use but with plenty of visual appeal. The park is also home to two time capsules that were planted 50 feet below park ground during the two Fairs, not to be opened until 6939! They contain plenty of era-defining objects. Amongst them are a copy of Life magazine, a pack of Camel cigarettes and a dollar in change.
What to do: Adjacent to the Unisphere is the Queens Museum, open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and free for students from any New York college or university with a valid ID. Take a stroll through the park and reach the Meadow Lake’s edge where rental boats are available.
How to get there: Take the 7 train to Mets-Willets Point, the second to last stop on the 7 line. Exit the station and you’re already in the park.
Remember to be safe, be aware of your surroundings, and bring a friend with you to all of these locations, but do not be afraid to explore this marvelous city and all it has to offer.
Email Jessica Saab at [email protected]