By Beth Whitman, on November 14, 2013

Serenity now in New York City

I fled the Greater New York City area for Seattle because I wanted more peace and quiet than the Northeast could offer. But sometimes I do return to the hectic Northeast for business or to see family. On those return visits, I often crave an inner peace that the city just can’t offer. In those moments, I turn to the only source I can: a great slice of pizza, of course! Well, and a few of my favorite quiet spots, too.

New Yorkers will tell you there’s plenty of peace and quiet in the city, but the truth is that unless you know where to look, you’ll likely have a hard time finding those sanctuaries. 

Allow me…

  • Entrance to the New York Library

  • Window looking out to Manhattan from the library

  • Lobby area at the New York Library

  • The computer room at the New York Library

New York Public Library

The Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library houses the largest collection of books, magazines, newspapers, CDs, and DVDs of all the libraries in the city’s system. It’s worth a visit to this grand building even if you don’t plan to check out any materials.

From the interior lobby to the farthest nook, hushed tones pervade the building. Like a museum, all visitors are on their best behavior, making it a great place to chill, meditate, or, yes, even read a book. Special events take place most days and art displays can be found on the third floor as well as in other places around the library.

Central Park

The stats are staggering given this is located in the heart of Manhattan: 

  • 35 million visitors a year
  • 24,000 trees
  • 9,000 benches
  • 250 acres of lawn
  • 150 acres of streams and lakes

Viewfinder Tip: Do the New York thing by grabbing a deli sandwich and having a picnic in the park beside one of the many lakes.

  • 80 acres of woodlands
  • 55 sculptures and monuments
  • 36 bridges
  • 26 ballfields
  • 21 playgrounds
  • 1 carousel (with 250,000 riders a year!)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan

Frankly, the park is HUGE. And you can’t even imagine just how huge until you get inside its belly and walk it for yourself. Yes, it’s a spot for people from all over the city (and the world) to congregate, but you can always seek out a designated quiet zone. There are six quiet zones all together where you’re sure to find a place to re-center and recharge.

Stay at a hotel near Central Park and you may be doubly lucky – with a view and within walking distance of the park!

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

I’m not Catholic, but I can’t help but be moved by the grandeur of churches like St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Construction began in 1858 on this, the largest gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral in the U.S. It’s considered the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of New York and is the seat of its Archbishop. Masses are held multiple times daily. It’s worth a visit during this time so you can fully appreciate the glory of the music and prayers.

Do you have a favorite quiet place in the Big Apple?