New York

Beautiful Photos from Central Park in the Fall

If I could only visit Central Park once a year, I would choose a day in the Fall.

Yes, in Winter it’s a snow-capped wonderland. In Spring and Summer, a flower lover’s delight. But in the Fall, it’s utterly magical. There’s nothing like wandering the park’s winding paths and verdant meadows in the midst of a kaleidoscope of color.

Wanting to see everything at its most vivid, I went at sunrise on a cloudy day so the colors of the leaves would really pop. I love the park in the early morning. Besides the beautiful light, there’s a serenity that belies the park’s place in the center of one of the world’s most frenetic cities. By 10am, the tourists, horse-drawn carriages, pedicabs and street vendors have arrived, and though it’s still lovely, it’s far less serene.

Gapstow Bridge --Best Places to see Fall Colors in Central Park

From this view of the Gapstow Bridge, you can see the famous (or infamous) Plaza Hotel and other Fifth Avenue skyscrapers. This is the second bridge on this spot, the first was wooden and quickly deteriorated and was replaced in 1896. Location: East Side at 62nd Street.

I went thinking I would spend an hour or two but found myself still roaming nearly 5 hours later. Most of the time I just drank in the scenery. After so many years in the big city, my tolerance for 24/7 concrete has waned.  I crave moments where I can revel in a little green.

If you’re heading to the Big Apple in the near future, make your first stop Central Park, its Autumn glory won’t last for long. With every gust of wind, thousands of leaves fall. Soon the trees will be barren and stripped of their glow.

For those not planning to visit, here are a few pics from my stroll. These may change your mind.

Wood Duck -- Best Places to see Fall Colors in Central Park

A gorgeous wood duck screeches at a mallard that’s too close for comfort. I found these two with a flock of various other birds resting on the shore near Gapstow Bridge. Location: East Side at 62nd Street.

A gorgeous wood duck screeches at a mallard that’s too close for comfort. I found these two with a flock of various other birds resting on the shore near Gapstow Bridge. Location: East Side at 62nd Street.

 

 

 

Mallard the Pond in Gapstow Bridge, Central Park, New York

After a dip, this mallard—one of 240 migratory birds that visit the Pond each year—flaps its wings to shake off the water. Central Park South between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

Winterdale Arch, Central Park, New York

Completed by 1862, the Winterdale Arch that carries the West Side Drive at 81st street and has the largest span of all the stone-and-brick bridges in the park. After years of  traffic accidents damaging the arch’s railings, the Central Park Conservancy restored them in 1993. Prior to that they were missing for over 50 years. Location: West Side at 82nd Street.

The Pond, Sheep's Meadow Rocks Gapstow Bridge, Central Park, New York

Even though this path along the Pond is only yards from the chaos of Central Park South, it’s position below street level muffle the sounds of the City to almost a whisper. Location: Central Park South between Fifth and Sixth Avenues on the south side.

The Reservoir, in Central Park, New York

A runner’s playground with a track that spans its circumference (1.58 miles), the Reservoir is 40 feet deep and holds a billion gallons of water. Originally, it provided water to the City when the Croton Water system was shut down for maintenance every year for two weeks. Today, with the increase in population, experts think the water wouldn’t last more than four hours. Yikes! Location: 85th Street to 96th Street, from east to west.

Stone steps in Shakespeare's Garden, Wooden Bridge in Shakespeare's Garden, The Reservoir, Dipway Arch, Wollman Rink, Wood duck and mallard in Mallard in Mallard ducks in the Pond in Gapstow Bridge, Central Park, New York

Tiny sparrows enjoy the rain and seeds from the plants that flank the stone steps in Shakespeare’s Garden. Here you’ll find flowers and plants mentioned in the playwright’s poems and plays. If you’re familiar with the Bard, you’ll recognize the quotes scattered on small bronze plaques throughout the garden’s four acres. Location: West Side between 79th and 80th Streets.

Path leading to the Hernshead in Central Park, New York

On my way north, I couldn’t resist checking out the Hernshead on the Lake, an outcropping of rocks where birds of all kinds tend to congregate. You’ll find it by entering the park at 72nd Street and heading north. Location: West Side between 75th and 76th Streets.

Sheep's Meadow Rocks Gapstow Bridge, Central Park, New York

A rocky area at the southeast corner of the Sheep’s Meadow is a perfect spot for photos and selfies. Location: West Side from 66th to 69th Streets.

Fall leaves in Central Park, New York

In Fall, it’s worth a stiff neck to enjoy the canopy of colors above.

Dipway Arch, in Central Park, New York

A view from the top of the Dipway Arch which runs along West Drive. If you follow the path in the photo north, you’ll run into the Park’s legendary carousel. Location: Mid-Park at 60th Street

The Pond, Central Park, New York

Another view of the Pond at the south-east end of the park. Reflected in the water are the twin towers in Columbus Circle. The left houses Time Warner’s global headquarters, the right the Mandarin Oriental. Location: Central Park South between Fifth and Sixth Avenues on the east side.

Path in the Ramble, Central Park, New York

I wasn’t the only one who found the Park at sunrise preferable. Taken on one of the many paths winding through the Ramble. Location: Mid-Park from 73rd to 79th Streets closer to 79th.

Belvedere Castle, Central Park, New York

A rustic wooden bench near Belvedere Castle is perfect place for a chat with a friend or curling up with a good book. In the background, the impressive high rises that line Central Park West. Location: Mid-park at 79th Street, just north of the castle.

Wooden Bridge in Shakespeare's Garden, The Reservoir, Dipway Arch, Wollman Rink, Wood duck and mallard in Mallard in Mallard ducks in the Pond in Gapstow Bridge, Central Park, New York

As small bridge in Shakespeare’s Garden. Location: West Side between 79th and 80th Streets near the Swedish Cottage.

Close up of the leaves in the Sheep's Meadow, Central Park, New York

Millions of gold, red and yellow leaves blanket the Sheep’s Meadow. Location: West Side from 66th to 69th Streets.

Path near the fire Alarm Station, Central Park, New York

A wide-angle view of the tree in the 4th picture (above ). I just loved the elegance and curves of the trunk and limbs. Location: Mid-Park from 73rd to 79th Streets.

Gapstow Bridge, Central Park, New York

The Gapstow Bridge from the path on the east side of the Pond. One of my favorite photos from that day’s wanderings. Location: East Side at 62nd Street.

Thanks to Central Park’s incredibly informative website for all the Park fun facts above.

38 replies »

  1. I’ve only ever experienced Central Park in the heat of summer. After my last trip I vowed to return and spend several days just exploring the park – ignoring all of New York’s other, admittedly intriguing, attractions. Your beautiful pictures have made me realise next time it has to be autumn.

  2. These are stunning shots! I am heading over to NYC in the end of may. Hopefully it will be this nice despite the fact that there won’t be autumn colours!

  3. This is definitely a dream of mine to visit here. As a high schooler in Colorado the East Coast is so interesting to me. I wrote a piece called What Central Park Sees but i wish i had seen this post before that as it would have helped with the descrptions throughout the story alot more. so cool!!

  4. Wow!! I’ve heard about Central Park in New York city all my life – and that’s quite a time – but never realised just how big and beautiful it is. These images Susan do it justice. I can’t believe the city is so close to this oasis of calm. Thank you for sharing it has been a wonderful eye opener for me

    • Thank you show much.. There’s so much to photograph there, I could go everyday and see something new. The leaves won’t last long but I hope to get a few more pics before everything is gone. 🙂

  5. It’s almost hard to believe this gorgeous park is located in the middle of a city, except for the few city skylines. Absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for sharing this fall retreat.

  6. Wonderful photographs, Susan. Autumn is by far my favourite season yet I’ve never seen Central Park in all its Autumn glory. I really ought to ensure we take a day trip to do just that but probably not until next year.

    I love wandering CP and, since I’ve not yet covered its entire area, I love wandering vicariously through your photographs. I don’t think I’ve seen the reservoir. It’s incredible to think that what could once meet the needs of the entire city now only lasts four hours. I have not been to Shakespeare’s Garden either and, as a Literature graduate and a former High School English teacher, I think I should make that spot a priority for my next visit.

    Thank you for sharing your ramblings and photographic talent with us.

    • Hi Laura! As always, thank you for the time you spend with my blog. It’s so appreciated. Thrilled you like the images and I agree, it’s worth planning your trip to NYC around the colors!

Would love to hear from you!