Autumn in New York is like no other place. The skyscrapers remain impressive but the trees take on a starring role as their leaves turn the most beautiful hues of red, gold and orange. The offerings at the Greenmarkets double as small farms across New York and New Jersey pick their crops of apples and pumpkins. The pretzel and hot dog vendors add roasted chestnuts to their menus. And schoolchildren layer with sweaters as they take their recess in the playgrounds of Central Park.
Autumn is a great time to be a kid in NYC. The peak time for fall foliage in New York City is typically mid-October through early November. And there are so many things to do and places to go while being surrounded by nature’s beauty.
Randall’s Island Golf & Sports Center Fall Festival
Just a quick hop from Manhattan Island, head over to Randall’s Island for a Fall Festival complete with a pumpkin patch, pony rides, hay rides, haunted mini golf, batting cages, face painting, a pumpkin and craft station, Halloween characters, carnival games, and Halloween puppet shows. Each child will go home with a pumpkin. Food concessions will be available including popcorn, pretzels, cookies, cupcakes, caramel apples, jelly apples, a variety of old fashioned pies, apple cider, hot chocolate, pizza, chicken fingers, hamburgers, and hot dogs, etc. The Festival is available for groups, schools or individual families. Admission price for the activities is $9 per person. Parking is free. The festival hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Check out the details at www.randallsislandgolfcenter.com/fall-fest.php
Madison Square Park Fall Kids Fest
The Park on 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue will be transformed into a Fall and Halloween-themed playland for kids from 11:00 to 2:00 pm featuring arts & craft activities, live music and theater, storytelling, and face painting. Time & the Space Cadets and The Pop-Ups will be playing music, Scholastic will have their Klutz Build-A-Book Station and there will be cotton candy, pretzels and apples. As part of the Festival’s traditional pre-Halloween celebration, tots and tykes can join a costume parade led by the Big Apple clowns and choose a pumpkin from the Fall Kids Fest pumpkin patch to decorate and take home.
Oct 16 – Nov 7
NY Waterways Ferry Seasonal Cruises
Don’t let the lack of wheels stop you and your family from taking in the leaf peeping. You can pack a lunch or even order one in advance from the folks at NY Waterways Ferry and take a four-hour boat trip up the Hudson River out of Manhattan to see the foliage throughout the HudsonValley. Tickets can be purchased on the NY Waterway website at www.nywaterway.com/ SeasonalCruisesShadesofAutumn.aspx and the boats conveniently launch from the piers on West 38th Street. Tickets for adults are $45 and kids are $20.
Central Park Conservancy’s Annual Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
A fun annual event for the entire family and a great opportunity to maximize the use of your Halloween costume this year! Paint a pumpkin, watch a pumpkin carving demonstration by professional vegetable carver Hugh McMahon, listen to spooky stories told by actor and stoyteller Dan Kitrosser, and march in a costume parade led by Frankenstein (wear your costume!). Bring a carved jack-o’-lantern and let it set sail in New York’s largest pumpkin flotilla at sunset. Activities are free and scheduled from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center in the Park. Head to www.nycgovparks.org/events for directions.
Halloween at Belvedere Castle: A Monster Musical Adventure
How many other moms can take their kids to a castle this Halloween for a monster musical? Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate the season at a local NYC landmark. This year the Central Park Conservancy presents Halloween at Belvedere: A Monster Musical Adventure, a 45-minute family-friendly play on Belvedere Castle’s plaza. A young boy fights to save Halloween with help from some friendly monsters in this theatrical performance. Performances happen throughout the day at 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm. Free for all ages, and there is no advance registration needed. Belvedere Castle In Central Park can be found mid-park about 79th Street. www.nycgovparks.org/events.
If you haven’t been getting enough mileage to run the 26.2 miles this year then buddle up the kids, make some homemade signs and cheer on the thousands of runners from all over the world that come to run the marathon through all five boroughs of the city. It’s truly inspirational to see the waves of runners coming up First Avenue or finishing the last few miles in Central Park. Many runners wear their names on their shirts so that spectators can shout personalized words of support and ease their run. Many will wave or smile in gratitude which always excites the kids. Check out the times and directions on the official NYC ING 2010 Marathon website www.nycmarathon.com.
That’s IT Mommy NY Friend, Jill