As iconic as the New York City skyline is, the city’s ever-present construction zones aren’t so pretty. In a nook of Central Park dubbed the Ravine, Manhattan’s famous buildings disappear from view, and the din of traffic and construction fades away, thanks to a rushing waterfall. Built to resemble the untouched nature of the Adirondacks, the Ravine provides a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Located in the lobby of Midtown’s Hearst Tower, the “Ice Fall” water feature is a well-kept secret amongst Hearst employees. Measuring approximately 3,000 square feet (279 square meters) and rising two stories high, this visually stunning feature doubles as a space cooler and humidifier for its admirers. Rising to the café exclusively reserved for Hearst employees, the “Ice Fall” makes for the best lunch break in the city.
Hearst Tower, 300 W 57th St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 649 2722
Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden
The Brooklyn Botanical Garden is a local hot spot where the latest trends in art, food, and culture intersect with nature. However, the destination’s Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden stands out as a perfect preservation of ancient Japanese-style gardens. Taking in the quiet waterfall, wooden bridges, and stone lanterns, you won’t miss modernity one bit.
Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 718 623 7200
Built in the 1970s, the retro design of this pocket park’s Instagram-ready water feature is worth braving the crowds of tourists for a look. Beneath the dome-shaped glass tunnel, which runs under a waterfall, visitors may enjoy the feature’s white noise effect, admire its unique design, and, of course, pose for the camera.
McGraw-Hill Park, 1221 6th Ave, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 904 2000
Opened in 1967, Paley Park is New York City’s original pocket park. The space, measuring at a cozy one-tenth of an acre, effortlessly creates a big impact with little room. Commanding the eye is a 20-foot-high (six meters) waterfall framed on either side with “vertical lawns” of climbing English Ivy. Honey locust trees, moveable patio furniture, and a compact café round out the selection of offerings at this small but mighty space.
Paley Park, 3 E 53rd St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 639 9675
Opened in 1907, New York’s Japan Society is hardly a secret, yet many locals have never witnessed the spot’s beautiful interior firsthand. Through thriving family, film, and foreign language programs, the Society works to bring together Japan and the United States. However, it is the serene indoor bamboo gardens and gently flowing waterfall which most effectively transport visitors to Japan.
Japan Society, 333 E 47th St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 832 1155
Bronx River Waterfall
Technically a dam, the Bronx River Waterfall is more powerful than most of the waterfalls mentioned thus far. Located in the heart of the New York Botanical Garden’s 250 acres is a testament to the power of nature, in which the water’s current is so forceful that river rafters are not permitted to ride its rapids.
New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY, USA, +1 718 817 8700
Hard-working college students and professionals on Manhattan’s Upper East Side may find some much-needed Zen at Greenacre Park. Named by Project for Public Spaces as one of the best parks in the world, the green space hosts a 25-foot (7.6-meter) waterfall, a small stream, and an on-site café serving up smoothies, farm-fresh eggs, and because it’s the Upper East Side, cup after cup of strong coffee.
Greenacre Park, 217 E 51st St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 649 5895