In a city as loud and chaotic as New York, it can feel nearly impossible to conceptualize peace or quiet. However, New York City has a plethora of quiet reprieves, if you know where to look. The following ten spots provide quiet escapes in the heart of NYC and are ideal for anyone in desperate need of a moment to themselves.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Aside from its reputation as a world-class botanical institution, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a quiet reprieve for New Yorkers and tourists alike, providing that necessary dose of nature and greenery that can be rather hard to come by in the Concrete Jungle. Relax into the garden’s serene atmosphere while observing its beauty at any time of year; a colorful 12,000 species cover 52 sprawling acres of land.
For those in need of a vacation from this planet, the Hayden Planetarium is probably the best bet. Curious about the final frontier? Some rather intelligent folks at the American Museum of Natural History have collaborated with the some equally brilliant astrophysicists to create one of the city’s most educational institutions. Their mission is to educate through hands-on exhibitions in an imaginative environment, which is just another form of much-needed escapism.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
A New York City religious, cultural, and architectural landmark, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a striking Midtown sight. Its formidable Gothic exterior is equal in beauty to its breathtaking interior, equipped with immaculate stained-glass windowpanes, high-vaulted ceilings and stunning Gothic details. While the cathedral is a popular tourist destination, it’s also an inspiring and reflective space for any New Yorker. So take a moment and allow yourself to be awestruck by the grandeur of this historic New York City space.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park
This tranquil and meticulously manicured public park sits on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, accessible by shuttle or by walking a short distance from the tram. A picture-perfect bit of greenery, FDR Four Freedoms Park offers serene views of the East River and Manhattan. FDR Four Freedoms Park is less crowded than Central Park or Prospect Park, and serves as the perfect spot to sit, read, or just reflect.
A branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters will send you out of the city and back in time to medieval Europe. Located in Northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park, The Cloisters showcases elaborate tapestries, religious iconography, and medieval European artworks. If this historic building’s intricate pillars, detailed archways, and soaring ceilings don’t quite do it for you, head outside to one of the peaceful herb gardens and reflect upon the ways in which Christianity permeated everyday life.
Arguably Manhattan’s most prized oasis, Central Park is an expansive and accessible public park that runs from 59th Street and Columbus Circle to 110th Street and Central Park North. While the park is, indeed, an international tourist destination, there are multiple hideaways that are perfect for peaceful contemplation, from the Conservatory Gardens to the Pool.
Gantry Plaza State Park
An urban oasis located in Long Island City, Gantry Plaza State Park is ideal for solo bike rides, strolls on the pier, and reflective views of the Manhattan skyline. Spacious and serene, this park is perfect for a good book on a blanket in an atmosphere that will unwind the mind, body, and spirit.
A public garden that’s been around since 1843, the Bronx’s Wave Hill is made up of four gardens: aquatic, herb, wild, and flower. The glasshouses serve as an educational resource, or you can simply wander a meandering path and relish views of the Hudson River. An ideal space for calming the mind or listening to chirping birds, discover this historic garden’s various nooks and crannies.
New York Chinese Scholars Garden
Modeled after a traditional Chinese garden in Suzhou, China, this replica at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island does not disappoint. Its traditional Chinese design, inspired by the gardens of the Ming Dynasty, is perfect for a quiet and cultural moment of peace. This garden is the quintessential environment for anyone seeking to sedate the mind.
The Russian Baths of Brooklyn
This relaxing bathhouse is comprised of a sauna, a Turkish steam room, a sun deck, and a pool. Platza, a traditional Russian massage treatment using a bundle of soaked oak, birch, or eucalyptus leaves, helps improve circulation and metabolism and is a great way to chase away the winter blues. The cultural element is a bonus as well.
By Yvonne Mambo
Yvonne loves sharing great food, music and film as a way to connect with others. Originally from Cameroon, Africa, she grew up in Northern Virginia and relocated to the NYC metro area last year to pursue new career goals. Creative and positive people inspire her to stay open minded.
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