What is the best season to visit New York?
It has been two years that I have been living in NY, and having well defined seasons is (among many) one of the things that amazes me most in this town. Of course, I'm not the happiest person in the world when it is 10C/14F outside for a whole month, but despite the cliché, the truth is that there is beauty and good in everything!!
If you're planning to visit NYC but can’t quite decide when, here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of each season in the Big Apple:
Central Park below zero.
This is certainly the hardest season; one in which you have to think twice before coming because the cold can just be unbearable. Sometimes it can be hard to spend time outside and enjoy the city itself, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy everything it has to offer with the comfort and warmth of being inside. Museums, exhibitions, theatres, and especially the culinary diversity with all the different restaurants are some of your best indoor options.
MoMa has a room dedicated exclusively to Monet's ninfees.
Just try to visit Max Brenner for "just" a hot chocolate!!
If you're not really a sweets person, don't worry. New York has plenty of restaurants - all of them have soups on the menu and if that’s not enough, many of the best restaurants in town are Italian, executed masterfully to help maintain, let's say ... an extra “carb layer” to heat the body!!
Risotteria at Bleecker St, has more then 30 options of risottos in the menu, including gluten and lactose free!
Despite the fact that Christmas decorations start as early as mid-November, the beginning of the season is marked by beautiful and elaborate window displays. There are several skating ice rinks around the city, one on Rockerfeller Center next to the famous pine that is lit as a Christmas tree. There are tons of Christmas markets, and on top of Broadway shows, many Christmas themed shows like the ever classic Nutcracker and New York City Rockettes.
As I always say, cold only makes sense when it snows! And when I say cold, it is very cold… -17C is not for everyone!! But unlike some European countries where it rarely snows, it does here a lot and a snowfall changes the landscape in the most beautiful and magical way.
Of course transporting around the city in this weather can be rather chaotic, as long as you’re dressed in adequate clothing (warm coat, scarf, and boots) and careful not to slip there's nothing quite like a stroll in the park with a view like this:
Oh spring, it’s about time! Finally people and animals come out of their hibernation- I remember all too well listening to the first bird singing around March and almost weeping with happiness. I swear!
This is the kind of happy people you’ll find in the streets- those who are so happy to see plants growing that they give trees a hug!
In search of some Vitamin D, the new warmth of the sun is reason alone to spend time outside. Though it's not necessarily hot yet, it certainly is warm enough to rent a bike to ride either around the island, in Central Park, or even to the Cloisters - the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in northern Manhattan devoted to the art and architecture of medieval age.
It's also time for the long-awaited Sakura Matsuri Japanese festival! Held at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden at the end of April, this festival celebrates the Japanese culture and the many species of the Cherry Blossom that make their show so special every year.
Wouldn’t it be worth it to get an airplane just to see those cotton candy trees from above?I
Needless to say, it is a complete necessity to go explore all the parks New York has to offer. There are dozens of them around masked under the winter snow until one day when you least expect it, boom! Foliage!
With both pollen and spring romance in the air, a light (or severe) allergic case is inevitable.
If you already have allergies, consider yourself more prone to have a small allergy attack…nothing that an Allegra in your luggage wouldn’t solve !! ;-)
As it's not easy to get a privileged view like this, this image was taken from Downtownbrooklyn.com
Despite the fact that the official season change is earlier (June 21), July 4 is definitely the summer kickoff when many New Yorkers take the opportunity to escape the city and enjoy their summer residences in Hamptons and Montauk. (Yes, those places that you hear about in so many films and tv shows really do exist!)
The beach in the Hamptons, where every family has a branch with their last name.
It is also time to see American patriotism in full thrust with beautiful fireworks displays at the Brooklyn Bridge and the flags all over the place!
The days are longer, and the sun makes a spectacle of setting every night some time around 8.30. It is a time to celebrate life and the beauty of the landscape, whether in the famous sheep meadow or at the Boathouse Happy Hour, both in Central Park.
The city offers plenty of free outdoor activities as films play in various locations and even a showing of Shakespeare plays in the park!!
Movies at the Bryant Park and music at the Washington Square park.
There are also craft, vintage and food fairs as the fun Smorgasburg in Brooklyn :
Ramen Burger: invention that gave queues and much to talk about, a hamburger with noodles bread!!
You can also join New Yorkers in their favorite summertime activity: drinking on trendy rooftops of hotels and restaurants or bars like the Frying Pan (a boat docked in Chelsea) at the edge of the Hudson River.
Top of the Standard Hotel in Meatpacking district.
August in New York is the equivalent of January in the southern hemisphere. New Yorkers tend to migrate out of the city while there is a major influx of Europeans visitors. Due to the pleasant weather and all the new visitors in the city, be prepared for the attractions to usually have long lines. Summer in the city, however can be somewhat brutal. The humidity is very high and the heat is almost infernal, especially within the metro stations, so avoid August if dealing with heat is not your kind of trip!
And here's another toast to summer in a well-known midtown balcony!
No wonder that there is even a movie called Autumn in New York- it is the most cinematic season. It exhales drama, melancholy, and a unique beauty!!!
Autumn brings cool breezes filling the air and pumpkins invading the city, either in the decor or on the menu of restaurants, bakeries and cafes, and we know for sure that the season has arrived!
The cute outside caffe of the Highline Hotel and the Pumpkin Cheesecake from Magnolia.
October is also the time of harvest in the Hudson Valley, just outside of New York. Go apple or pumpkin picking, which is a really cool activity to include in your visit!
With your picks, there are other outstanding delicacies of the season - apple cider and different pies - sometimes reinvented- like this one made in a flower shape, by the famous French chef Dominique Ansel:
The change of the foliage is a separate special chapter!! I've never seen another fall in the world that compares to NY’s various shades of yellow, magenta and orange mixed with blue sky of Central Park!!!
" I'm glad I live in a world with octobers" Montgomery.
September is when the basketball and hockey seasons start and as it is still the beginning of the season , the prices to games are much more affordable !!
If nothing else, October 31 is Halloween, almost like an out of season Carnival for us Brazilians, only scarier!
If dressing up as a skeleton or monster is not your thing, you can just spy on the elaborate costumes during the parade in West Village or wander around the townhouses decorations in the neighborhood.
It is noteworthy that after Halloween - sometimes on the same weekend - the time changes during daylight savings time. The hours decrease by 1 hour, and it gets dark at 5 pm until gradually to 4:30! If you live here full time, you might forget that there is life after work, foregoing the gym and just wanting to lie down in the couch eating pie….preferably apple pie!
However, that won’t be the case while on your trip, and if the main reason of it is shopping, you’re going to get lost in the mega discounts of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
This holiday weekend marks the transition from late fall to early winter, where the whole cycle starts again.In a city where a large portion of the population is not Christian or Catholic, Thanksgiving is actually more important than Christmas, it is the date on which families across the country to gather around the table.
So, did you decide ??