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What To Pack For The Change Of Season In New York City

Spring and fall are two of the top four best seasons to visit New York City, but packing for them can be a journey unto itself. In the past five years, March temperatures in New York have gotten as high as 84 degrees, and as low as 17 degrees. In October, the range has been from 93 degrees down to 39 degrees. And that’s not even counting the rain, snow, sleet and hail that puts USPS workers through their paces and made early 20th century constables give catcallers around the Flatiron Building the old 23 Skidoo.

In order to ensure you’re outfitted for everything Central Park’s official weather station in Belvedere Castle has in store for you, here are some of The Knickerbocker Hotel’s top tips for packing for the change of season in New York City.

woman wearing white shoesPhoto by No Revisions on Unsplash


Comfortable Shoes, Of Course

While there’s a certain Carrie Bradshaw appeal to hailing a cab in sky-high Manolo Blahniks, everyone knows that a great pair of walking shoes is the number one must-have when it comes to getting around NYC. While Birkenstock Bostons offer comfort and wait-list cachet, New York City is a town that requires ankle support — and in spring and fall, completely closed shoes.  No. 6 Clog Boots look great with nearly everything three seasons of the year, but if you’re looking for a little bit less of an investment, Sorel, Clarks and Brooklyn-born Kork-Ease are smart, style-forward alternatives, and our overnight shoeshine service will keep them looking buff. We recommend bringing a tried-and-true pair that you’ve already broken in a bit, but in a pinch, The Knickerbocker is an easy walk to all the shoe stores in and around Midtown, Manhattan and Times Square, including Nike NYC House of InnovationAdidasCrocsAldoFoot LockerSuper Runners, and Skechers.

people getting their photo taken with the brooklyn bridge behind them
Photo by Cavan for Adobe


A Scarf or Pashmina

As Rita Wilson once said, “What a great accessory a scarf is. It hides some stomach things, and some neck things. A twofer!” Make it a larger scarf or a pashmina and it’s a tenfer. Tuck a scarf in your carry-on to keep you warm on the plane or roll it up under your head for a travel pillow. Once you’ve arrived in New York, it’s an easy-to-tote, wrap-of-all-trades answer to aggressive a/c, quick temperature dips, protecting a blowout from sudden gusts of wind or spring showers, and pulling an outfit together. Since The Knickerbocker is in the heart of one of the best shopping destinations in the world, a scarf or pashmina also makes an easy-to-pack souvenir that you will use again and again.

man wearing a mask walking across the street
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash


Rainy Day Essentials

Change of season showers in New York can be dramatic and — with traffic splashing through puddles, streams of water rushing down the street and pooling at crosswalks and water dripping off awnings — a little dirty. Always best to be prepared. Even if the forecast calls for sunny skies, we recommend bringing a packable jacket or anorak like Athleta’s RainOut Sutro Long Trench or Mendocino Coat or Orvis’s Pack-and-Go Jacket. Also, consider bringing rubber soled boots, and, of course, an umbrella — but if you want to travel light, you can always pick up a cool one at MoMA Design Store or a cheapie from a street vendor that you can pay forward later.

people in a park


Sun Protection

We know you know, but a good, reliable sunscreen is almost as important during the change of season as it is in high summer. We’re going to follow the dermatologists” advice on this and recommend EltaMD UV Clear, which is fragrance-free, noncomedogenic and helps protect against free-radicals. We also recommend a great sunhat, like the colorful, packable ones that Baggu makes. And don’t forget your sunglasses!


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