Autumn in New York has been all about those crisp mornings as I walked to school, with the sight of beautiful, sun-dappled building exteriors to keep me amazed before burying myself in the library. Central Park has evolved into that perfectly filtered picture on Instagram – only this is the real deal. I have put a substantial share of my budget towards PSLs (=pumpkin spice latte – and yes, I know the joke is on me), and I have been cuddling under the duvet, looking out across the street as the rain drums on my windowpane on those lazy Sunday mornings. Rain droplets aside, the weather has been absolutely beautiful, and my summer jacket has served me well, even on the other side of the 1st of November – something I had not dare to hope for.
Essentially the highlights of my autumn in New York boils down to three main events
1. Road trip to Bear Mountain State Park
Somehow, you only truly appreciate what you got, once it is taken away from you. Or, how you always want curly hair after you spend hours straightening it (I guess this is mostly a reference the ladies can relate to). A similar state of mind reached me, after a few hours drive in a rented car with some fellow exchange students, all eager to get back into nature. Not only did we witness beautiful fall foliage as we drove through the country, but we also embarked on a minor hiking adventure whilst inhaling cleaner air, and our feet got to enjoy something else than pavement underneath those soles. It felt good to be out of the city! But just as we reached the top (sadly by car, I guess we really have become sad city folks), you could just make out the Manhattan skyline in the far, foggy distance. And what a sight! It made me miss the city all over again, and appreciate all its magic, just a few, rolling hills away. The road trip was concluded at the infamous Woodbury Outlet, and though only little was purchased, it was nice to spend some quality time with some great people.
2. A Day at the Botanical Garden + Halloween Dog Parade
More nature was consumed with a day in the Bronx, to experience the famous Botanical Garden, one of the top visited sights of NYC. It truly was very beautiful, but I do acknowledge that my eyes might have tricked me, and that everything just seemed a little greener after having lived for a while now in the ‘concrete jungle’. We got into the right Halloween spirit by walking through the pumpkin themed garden, and took the tram all around the premises. A little tip – the orchid “garden” was a let down, with only one plant on display
And let’s face it – no NYC experience is complete without attending a Halloween Dog Parade in Tompkin Square Park in the East Village. As we hurried away from the tranquility of the garden grounds to the madness that necessarily follows a DOG costume parade, the day was concluded by scouting for the best dog-halloween-costume. And while this may seem maddening, it made a lot of sense at the time. My favourite was without a doubt the Martini dog – sometimes less really is more. It is undoubtedly events like this that makes this city so great.
3. All Hallows Evening
I was as excited as a little child for October 31st. Having never been in the US during Halloween, the entire month became all about pumpkins, spooky themed decorations and trying to think of details for the costume. I could lie and say I didn’t know what to dress up as, but all along there really only was one rational choice for me: Pikachu. That’s right. A graduate student and all I wanted to be was Pikachu. Also, “sowing” up a costume from Danish kitchen cloths (aka the famous and much beloved ‘karklud’) was almost as fun as spending a night as a pokemon in NYC.
A friend had come up from DC and as a team of three (Pikachu, creepy scientist aka roomie, and Snoop Dog/Jessie J/British Chav/insert whatever you like) decided to spook the hell out of the NYC streets. The NYC Halloween Parade was absolutely amazing once we actually pushed through the crowds, and were able to witness the shenanigans. Luckily we pushed hard enough just in time to watch a bunch of zombies dance to ‘Thriller’. The evening ended in a dance-off between Pikachu and creepy scientist. A scary night to remember.