It makes me want to buy school supplies, and do all of the things on this list. New York in the fall is New York at its best, conjuring up Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner visions of a city gone sepia-toned. You can keep your summer rooftop bars and your springtime row boats and your Rockfeller Center Christmas tree, lovely though they are. New York in autumn is my favorite, having stolen my heart on a couch long ago as Meg Ryan twirled across the Upper West Side. Here are 22 reasons why.
1. Park Weather: Whether Central or Prospect is your jam, fall in New York was made for enjoying the city’s greener patches, in all their Olmsteadian glory.
2. Sweater Weather: Best explained by this SNL sketch featuring funny ladies/awesome humans Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler.
3. Boots Crunching Leaves on Sidewalks: Fall is a walking season, and New York is a walking city, so bringing the two together is a match made in pedestrian heaven.
4. The Smell of Leaves and Smoke in the Air: How is it that even with nary a chimney in sight, October air always manages to smell slightly of bonfires? It’s witchcraft, I tell you.
5. Hot Coffee at Brooklyn Coffee Shops: I love me an iced coffee, but there’s something so cozy about holding a perfectly steamed latte between your chilled fingers as you stroll the sidewalks or sit dreaming up blog posts. Some of my favorite spots include Variety, Little Skips, and Brooklyn Roasting Company.
6. Fall Light on Brownstones: They call it magic hour for a reason. Hot damn.
7. Fewer Tourists Clogging the Streets: Especially as someone who works in Midtown (your groans of sympathy are much appreciated), I greet the end of the high season with the most rousing of cheers, and a big sigh of relief…at least until the Christmas hordes descend.
8. People Watching: Take advantage of the glorious (and fleeting) weather to peruse the wide spectrum of humanity that calls this metropolis home. Bonus: Fall fashion is New Yorkers at their well-layered best.
9. Pumpkins and Donuts at Farmers Markets: My personal favorite is the Union Square Greenmarket, but even your neighborhood stand tends to go festive come fall, turning Bushwick or Crown Heights into your own little Halloweentown.
10. Pumpkin Beers from the Local Breweries: SOME PEOPLE LIKE THESE THINGS SCOUT! (More on Scout’s inexplicable hatred of the seasonal glory that is pumpkin spice next week.)
11. Apple Picking: This one is admittedly easier if you have access to a car, but they don’t call it the Big Apple for nothing. New York is known for its orchards, many of which have open picking days. The roomies and I recently ventured to Dr. Davies Farm, a mere 45 minutes outside the city, and even though its picking operation was on the more basic side, it was still delightful, relaxing, and delicious.
12. Wine Tasting in the Hudson Valley: Again, easier if you have a car, but still doable by train. And automatically makes you classier than all your friends who spent their weekend doing pickle backs at the bar.
13. Reading in the MoMA Sculpture Garden: Really any outdoor space with seating will do, but this is my favorite spot of late, namely because it a. makes me feel cultured and classy and b. puts me within walking distance of Scout when she decides to take a lunch (i.e. Chipotle) break.
14. Stargazing on the High Line: Every Tuesday through October, from dusk until 11 p.m., the good folks at Friends of the High Line set up free telescopes along the promenade. Plus there are astronomers on hand to answer questions and help guide your scopes. The more you know!
15. Walking. Everywhere.: No winter slush to slow you down, no summer heat to melt your face, and no spring pollen to launch a vicious assault on your sinuses. Explore a new corner of the city, or stroll around a familiar haunt with fresh eyes.
16. New Crop of Broadway Shows: Fall is when the theatres start to break out the big guns, packing up last year’s awards offerings and launching their contenders for the next round of Tony’s. This season has so far added Hamilton to the top of our wishlists, with Deaf West’s Spring Awakening coming in close behind.
17. Brooklyn Book Festival: For the literary.
18. The New Yorker Festival: For the classy (and the good planners — those tickets sell out hella fast).
19. New York Film Festival: For that pretentious friend with a Metropolis poster in his/her living room.
20. New York Comic Con: If for no other reason than commuting with a bunch of cosplayers makes the subway ten times more entertaining.
21. Halloween: See above. New York takes Halloween very seriously, as evidenced by the Village Parade and the high percentage of bedraggled witches, vampires, and Donald Trumps to be found on the L train at 3:00 a.m.
22. Getting Warm Cookies from Levain and Strolling through Riverside Park: The piece de resistance for a perfectly perfect, Ephron-worthy fall day. Just like Kathleen and Joe (plus chocolate).
I didn’t realize until recently that there was so much going on at the Highline!