Queens residents don’t have to leave the borough to wonder at autumn’s colors before colder weather takes over.
According to the NYC Parks Department, three of the city’s best parks to enjoy the season’s changing leaves are Bayside’s Alley Pond Park, Fresh Meadows’ Cunningham Park and central Queens’ Forest Park.
Bounded by the Grand Central Parkway and the Cross Island Parkway, Alley Pond Park features several official walking paths. Walk the park’s “white trail” to catch a glimpse of the Queens Giant: the tallest tree and possibly the oldest living thing in New York City. The second largest park in Queens features diverse trees, including pin oaks, white pines, black cherries, flowering dogwoods and red oaks.
Cunningham Park, which lies between the Grand Central Parkway to the south and the Long Island Expressway, features a variety of oaks, hickories, tulips and honey locusts. NYC Parks suggests taking the park’s southeast hiking trail at Francis Lewis Boulevard and Union Turnpike for the most picturesque views.
With 165 acres of trees and more than 500 acres of total green space, Forest Park is the perfect place to enjoy the borough’s horticultural wonders. Trees to see at this huge central Queens park include northern red oaks, shagbark hickories, wild black cherries and white oaks, which bloom in colors from bright yellow to deep red.
According to an interactive map published by website Smoky Mountains, the best time to view Queens’ autumn colors is between Oct. 8 and Oct. 29. The peak seven-day span is the week of Oct. 22.
Learn more about each park at the NYC Parks website.