Things to Do in NYC in Autumn
The older I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate autumn. There’s something in the coziness of wearing your favorite sweater and sipping on a warm drink while curled up with your favorite book that is unique to autumn. Though I think winter is an underappreciated and underrated season (come on, there is nothing more magical than seeing your street blanketed in white, little crystals of ice glittering like yellow diamonds under streetlights), I’ll admit one of the best things about autumn is being free of the fear of slipping on a patch of ice. I’ve already given you a list of some ways to spend December in New York City, but here’s some of my advice for spending autumn in the Big Apple.
Go to a farmers’ market. If you’re like me and you like cooking every now and then, you may also agree that there is no other season which parallels autumn when it comes to fresh produce. Even in a place as bustling and decidedly not conducive to farming, there are an abundance of farmers’ markets in New York! Right across the street from Barnard’s campus, there’s a year-round farmers’ market every Sunday and Thursday. My personal favorite stops at the Broadway farmers’ market? Meredith’s Bread, which sells the best pies (even in mini form!) of all different types and the produce stand which also sells apple cider and apple cider donuts.
Drink apple cider. Speaking of apples and apple cider, Foursquare gave the producer at the Columbia farmers’ market the accolade of second-best apple cider in NYC. Apple cider is one of the best drinks you can sip on this season, especially for those of you who prefer this non-caffeinated classic to pumpkin spice lattes. Other great places for cider, according to Foursquare, including the Union Square Greenmarket and Clinton St. Baking Company (which also has great pancakes!).
Books! Reading is one of my favorite things to do at any time of year, but there’s something particularly enchanting about reading outside on a brisk day, surrounded by the colorful autumn foliage. Some great bookstores in New York City include Books of Wonder, a YA and children’s bookstore with locations in the Upper West Side and Chelsea; Book Culture, a Columbia favorite with several outlets, including two in Morningside Heights on 114th/Broadway and 112th St; and The Strand, probably New York City’s most famous bookstore with 18 miles of books, located a few blocks from Union Square.
Spooky tours for Halloween. Autumn is also Halloween season, so what better way to celebrate the spookiest time of year than to go on a couple of tours at the lesser-known historical haunts (pun fully intended) of Manhattan? Not too far from Barnard is the oldest residential house in Manhattan, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, which also served as a headquarters in the Revolutionary War. In addition to being a museum, the mansion also has bi-monthly paranormal investigations. The Merchant House Museum downtown holds candlelight ghost tours (I went on one last year with a friend of mine. I won’t spoil anything, but I did scream in the course of the tour). If you’re looking for something a bit tamer but still in the spirit of Halloween, Enchantments, NYC’s oldest occult store located in the East Village, is a great spot to get anything from herbs to books and locally-made products.
Brunch + a stroll. Having a tranquil brunch with some friends and then taking a leisurely stroll around a park is my idea of a perfect Sunday. If you want to have a true treat-yourself morning, I suggest Good Enough to Eat on 85th St. and Columbus, a restaurant with some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had (I highly recommend their chocolate chip with coconut flakes) and then a walk around Central Park--conveniently just one avenue over! If you prefer to stick a little closer to Columbia, some of my favorite bagels in New York City are just across Morningside Park. Get a bagel at Bo’s Bagels (on 116th between Adam Clayton Powell and Frederick Douglass) and then take a walk around Morningside (which I still think is an underrated gem in the area). If you’re looking to get breakfast for $10 or less, Absolute Bagels (on 108th and Broadway) is a Columbia classic where you can get a bagel with butter for $1.85. (That’s less than...basically anything at Starbucks.) Then, take a nice walk along the Hudson through Riverside Park.