New York City might be a Concrete Jungle, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not also a great place to catch some fall foliage. We’re in the thick of October, which means that the next three weekends are going to be among the best of the year for viewing fantastic local color. This week’s blog is a collection of great places to catch some great trees without leaving New York City limits.
Without further ado, here’s our breakdown for Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan:
1 – Alley Pond Park’s “Yellow Trail” – Alley Pond is an interesting park. It sits more-or-less in a glacial moraine, which is a land formation composed of many mixed materials left behind by the glaciers that created Long Island and Manhattan. As a result, Alley Pond Park has a highly diverse ecosystem, with a whole bunch of trees. There are mostly hardwoods, oak and hickory. Alley Pond also boasts a public high-ropes course!
2 – Astoria Park – The color here is offset by the mixed-blues and greys backdrop of ocean, sky and Manhattan Skyline. While you’re here, you might as well get some great Greek food at Stamatis on 23rd Avenue or BBQ at Strand Smokehouse on Broadway.
1 – The West Village – There are a ton of trees here. Every block looks like a movie set for “old timey New Yawk,” if you can ignore the fro-yo shops. What’s cool about a West Village foliage walk is that you can also do some shopping, stop at Magnolia Cupcakes, or expand your world percussion collection at the same time.
2 – Central Park – But you knew that, you’re a smart cookie. I mean, there’s over 23,000 trees there, which is an average of over 1,000 per acre. Anywhere you go, it’s going to be great.
1 – Prospect Park – The same rules as Central Park apply – there are a ton of trees here, and it’s beautiful everywhere.
2 – Ocean Parkway – If you’ve got a car, try heading for a ride down Ocean Parkway, from the Prospect Expressway down to Coney Island. It’s tree-lined the whole way down, and passes through a wide range of neighborhoods. The drive is a real slice of old-skool New York City, taking you through the real Brooklyn.
And if you can’t make it outside – don’t forget that Starbright Floral Design is happy to bring the season to you. We’re featuring a ton of autumnal arrangements with colored leaves, fall foods, and seasonal weeds (the pretty sort).
And because we can’t help our seasonal joy – today we’re sharing a special New York style apple pie recipe from the Starbright team! Happy Fall!
BIG APPLE PIE
In New York, sometimes there just isn’t room for kitchen equipment – it’s a cold hard fact that can really cramp one’s cooking style. This recipe comes from one our team, who first learned how to make this recipe entirely by hand! She’s since then added a food processor to the process, both methods are listed below.
PIE CRUST :
- 2 1/2 cups flour (the general sort)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup of butter (still cold! cut into small cubes)
- 1/3 cup water (ice cold)
1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl – give it a couple gentle stirs to mix.
2. Add the butter – mix the butter and dry combination until combined and looking like course meal.
- By Hand : Use a wooden or metal spoon to sort of mash the butter into the dry mix repeatedly against the side of the bowl, while turning the bowl for the best leverage – cold butter can be uncooperative. Be careful to not overdue it though, the goal is to keep the butter cold throughout this process. Chasing just the big lumps of butter into only the very dry floury leftovers will help. And get ready, this hand process won’t be quick
- By Food Processor : Add your dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and pulse for 2 seconds to combine. Next, add the butter, and pulse again until the mixture looks like course meal – about 8 seconds.
3. Add ice cold water.
- By Hand : Add about half of the water and combine gently. Add more water slowly until the dough holds together. The goal is to get all the dough to hold together with the least amount of water.
- By Food Processor : Add the water in a steady stream through the processor’s tube until the dough just holds together. Do not process for more than 20 seconds to combine the water.
4. Turn out the dough onto a surface and divide into two roughly the same size balls. Press the dough flat (by hand). Wrap the flattened balls in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- 1 lemon, squeezed – about 2 tbsp juice
- 8 apples (your choice!)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
1. Peel and cut apples into slices or wedges that are about 1/4″ thick. Toss with lemon juice to prevent browning.
2. Combine remain ingredients in a bowl and mix until apples are fully coated with sugar.
PUT THE PIE TOGETHER
- 2tbsp butter (cut into small cubes)
1. Roll out one of the flattened dough balls and lay it into a buttered pie plate to form the outside crust. Let any over hanging dough stay there for a minute.
2. Add the pie filling to the crust. It’ll look like there’s too much – pile the filling mound higher at the center.
3. Press the butter cubes into the filling – spaced out.
4. Rollout the second dough ball on a floured surface. This will be for the top of the pie. Wet the edge of the bottom of the pie crust and lay the top on evenly. The wetted edge will help them stick together. Look up some decorative designs if you’d like to make yours unique!
5. Make sure the pie crust has a vent. If the crust is left solid, it will probably break and ooze apple filling…A lesson learned after one memorable mess. Cutting 4 or 5 slits in the top crust should do the trick.
1. When the oven is at 450 degrees, slip in the pie. Bake for 20 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking until the pie looks done. “Looking done” requires about 45-60 more minutes and a golden-brown crust.
3. If you don’t want to globby mess, allow the pie to cool completely before serving. It’ll take about 5-6 hours.