For those in the know, New York City can actually be - dare we say it? - relaxing. Even on the busiest Manhattan block, tiny slices of peace and quiet are well within reach - if you know where to find them. Here’s where to chill and decompress between meetings in the Concrete Jungle.
The Rose Reading Room, New York Public Library Main Branch
This expansive reading room is as gorgeous as it is silent. The ceiling mural and massive chandeliers make for an almost church-like experience to kick back with your book or a work project.
This monastery-themed East Village bar is famous for its rule that patrons keep a low volume while inside. When you walk through the door, you’ll notice customers flat out whispering to each other over drinks. The bar features a wide range of imported beers to try, so you’ll be sure to find something great to sip on while you enjoy the quiet.
Strawberry Fields, Central Park
Most people know Strawberry Fields as the part of Central Park where visitors pay tribute to John Lennon - and it is - but did you know that it’s also one of the park’s designated quiet zones? Yes, musicians love to gather and play Beatles tunes next to the famous “Imagine” mosaic that honors Lennon, but just beyond the memorial is a quiet, hilly clearing that’s perfect for a nap in the sunshine. It’s rarely crowded, and best of all, it’s free of noise except for the occasional serenades of Lennon-loving guitarists in the distance.
The Strand Bookstore
The Strand is one of the most famous bookstores in New York City, so its main floor can get noisy and claustrophobic quick. The secret for real peace is to head down to the basement where the nonfiction section is housed. Here, it’s like a whole different store, with few crowds save for a handful of fellow book lovers flipping through their finds.
Church Of The Transfiguration
This 19th century church is so tightly surrounded by skyscrapers that you could easily walk right past it without noticing. But once you catch a glimpse of the church’s serene, dreamy courtyard, you’ll never want to leave. The courtyard’s cozy benches and greenery provide a perfect escape from the busy city just beyond its gates. Bonus: the church is right around the corner from The Open Center, a holistic spiritual gathering space that features a delightfully quiet cafe. Two peaceful getaways in one!
Okay, so this one isn’t exactly around the corner from your office - the Cloisters is in northern Manhattan and takes some time to reach from Midtown. That said, if you ever find yourself with a free afternoon and a desperate need for zen, you’ll want to pay a visit. Housed in four medieval-style cloisters (hence the name), this museum is home to world-class Romanesque and Gothic art, all set in the tranquil surroundings of Fort Tryon Park.
The Morgan Library And Museum
This midtown treasure was acquired in 1906 to house the private personal library of financier J.P. Morgan. (Yes, that J.P. Morgan.) Morgan intended for the space to become a public institution after his death, so today, you can peruse it for yourself. The property features a lovely museum that exhibits the work of notable artists, but the crown jewel of the place is the library itself, which is decked out in historic decor and floor-to-ceiling stacks of rare books. The best part? It is So. Quiet. Gawk at those books in peace, friends.