September 17, 2008 at 4:47 pm 1 comment

If the idea of a whole day of leaf-peeping sounds like too much time in the car or train, then skip the rural wonders. There are ways to get a dose of fall’s visual bounty without going too far outside the city. The subway can take you to trees galore. And one unconventional way of checking out the foliage is via water: A boat ride up the Hudson River gives you an afternoon of colorful vistas. From these spots, you can get a dose of the country and quickly dive back into the city.


The Cloisters is the most popular artistic draw in uptown Manhattan, but the rest of Inwood’s Fort Tryon Park has plenty of foliage views. A number of points in the park, including some near the park’s flowering Heather Garden, overlook the Hudson River Palisades of New Jersey and Rockland County. These lower-Hudson Valley views of the foliage are some of the best in the entire state. The spot allows for a splendid view up the length of the Palisades, right to the Tappan Zee Bridge. Along the way, colors change all throughout October and November. The New Leaf Café, a restaurant located within the park and operated by Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, offers outdoor views of the park’s trees that, of course, can be enjoyed just as thoroughly as the Palisades throughout autumn.

Getting there: The 190th Street station stop on the A train exits directly in front of the entrance to Fort Tryon Park.

For more information: Call 311.


Brooklynites know that Green-Wood Cemetery isn’t a morbid locale: At various high points in the cemetery, one can look over Sunset Park right to the East River and the Statue of Liberty. Enjoying the lush flora of the cemetery on the way to those high points, though, is just as much of a perk. Green-Wood is so — well, green — that budding mycologists forage through the cemetery after heavy rains, and ornithologists can be seen patiently strolling the countless paths with their heads turned upward. One small drawback about seeing Green-Wood’s foliage is that bicycles are not allowed on the grounds, but no matter: Walking through the cemetery is great exercise, and there’s much to be seen through the tree-laden grounds, including a lily pool and various historical headstones, including those of Lola Montez (of the infamous “Spider Dance”), Jean-Michel Basquiat, Henry Ward Beecher, and Horace Greeley.

Getting there: Take the R to the 25th Street station in Brooklyn.

For more information: Call 718-768-7300.


A number of boat companies offer fall foliage cruises on the Hudson River, including the two separate Circle Line operations. Circle Line Downtown’s foliage tours begin in mid-October and run for five dates through November on the company’s Zephyr cruise boat. The Zephyr leaves from South Street Seaport and sails up the Hudson River to West Point, N.Y., home of the United States Military Academy, about 80 miles from the city. The ride lasts for 5 and 1/2 hours, and Circle Line Downtown offers plenty of activities in addition to foliage viewing: Breakfast and lunch are served, and during each trip, a different New York state winery offers wine tastings. Also offered are raffles, live music, and either professional or college football broadcasts on the ride back to the city.

Getting there: Take the 2, 3, 4, 5, J, or Z train to Fulton Street; or the A or C to Broadway/Nassau streets. The boat leaves from Pier 16, located at Fulton Street and the East River Drive.

Dates: Sunday, October 19; Sunday, October 26; Saturday, November 1; Sunday, November 9, and Saturday, November 15.

Time: The ride boards at 10:30 a.m., sails at 11 a.m., and returns to the city at 4:30 p.m.

Price: $112 up to one week in advance of the sail date, $120 afterward.

For more information: Call 866-925-4631.

The Circle Line Sightseeing Company also offers a cruise up the Hudson, but allows for foliage spectators to set their feet on land and explore upstate New York. Sailing from 42nd Street, the Circle Line’s cruise ship travels north to Bear Mountain State Park in Westchester County, about 50 miles north of the city. Passengers then disembark in the park for a picnic lunch provided by Circle Line and can also enjoy the park’s annual Oktoberfest activities.

Getting there: Take the 1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R, W, A, C, or E to 42nd Street. The boat leaves from Pier 83, located at 42nd Street and the Hudson River.

Dates: Every weekend in October, and Saturday, November 1.

Time: The ride boards at 8:30 a.m., and returns at 5:30 p.m.

Price: $45 general, $40 seniors, $35 children

For more information: Call 212-563-3200.
NY Sun


Entry filed under: Get Wet, Public Waterfront, Region. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Johnny Trang  |  September 18, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Just what I was looking for… I different way to go leaf peeping with the kids. Boat trip to Bear Mountain ! I’m going to go online and see how much it costs. I appreciate the tip Coastal !!


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