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Experiences

A Botanical Garden Fall

Coming from a first-timer, fall in the Northeast is unbelievably exciting. The air gets a little crisper, hot apple cider seems increasingly important, and, perhaps most crucially, the leaves of the trees begin to change colors. Autumn in New York is a famous, magical time, and there’s really no better place to appreciate it than the New York Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens are an impressive collection of paths and scenery featuring beautifully maintained gardens, lawns, bits of forest and an expansive greenhouse. Visiting the gardens feels almost like something out of a storybook. Walking under the spread of golden trees erases the memory of the cold concrete New York completely out of mind. Instead, crossing a bridge over a glimmering stream invites images straight out of a fairy tale; you half expect to come across a candy cottage in the depth of the woods. 

As I’m from Texas, I had never seen a fall like this before. Back home, we wear short sleeves well into November, and the leaves go from green straight to brown. So when I saw the first traces of red and orange in the trees in New York, I was so excited. The movies really do not do it justice. I was getting my fix from Riverside Park, but my first visit to the Botanical Gardens blew the measly Riverside trees away. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a hike to get to the gardens in the Bronx from Columbia, but it is still totally worth it. The 1 train will get you to the very edge of Manhattan, and then just one bus will drop you off at the gates. From there, the magic of autumn will take you for quite a spin. It’s a lovely afternoon endeavor that just might sate your wanderlust for nature. 

The Botanical Garden is a sight for all seasons. In fact, it’s fun to see how it changes throughout the year. The blooming bounds of color in spring become softer and greener in summer, taking on the golden shine of autumn as the year wanes. It’s worth a visit any day, but it remains one of the best places to see New York fall at its most spectacular.

Clarissa Melendez

Columbia Barnard '24

Clarissa Melendez is a freshman at Barnard College, where she studies Art History. She loves books and movies and spends her time in Austin, Texas making collages and driving her 2003 Toyota 4Runner to the video store.
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