10 Quiet Refuges to Escape the Noise of New York City
NYC is famously the city that never sleeps, and I wonder if it’s because it is such a noisy city. Many politicians have tried to change that, with former Mayor Bloomberg even declaring a war on noise.
Yet, it seems that so far the noise has been stronger than all regulations and keeps its firm control over the city. As an introvert and entrepreneur I have learned to balance a lifestyle that allows me to zip from meeting to meeting in Manhattan, while at the same time stopping at quiet places along the way to recharge my batteries, meditate or just be silent for a few minutes, before continuing on to the next appointment. This keeps me sane.
However, finding quiet and uncrowded spots in NYC isn’t easy and here are my favorite 5 places in some key areas from 7 noisy years in this city. My spots are focused on indoor places, but NYC offers many parks and gardens as a great good weather alternative (great additional resource by NY Times for that).
If you’re in Midtown: The New York Public Library, the Rose Main Reading Room It’s easy to forget about this incredible building right in the heart of Manhattan, but once you make your way through the hordes of tourists, you will be rewarded with silence, good wifi and a desk space. The New York Public Library, 455 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016
If you’re in Flatiron: The Nomad Hotel Library While outside people are hustling fake perfumes and handbags, inside waits a peaceful lounge in the library of the Nomad Hotel. Walk through the restaurant and turn left at the bar. Best before 5pm. The Nomad Hotel, 1170 Broadway, corner with 28th street, New York
If you’re in Chelsea: Cafe Serai at the Rubin Museum This little-known museum with an amazing Himalayan art collection is hidden in Chelsea and its cafe offers a zen break from the bustle outside. Rubin Museum, The Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011
If you’re in the Lower East Side: lobby of Bowery Hotel This is what an old hotel in the late 19th century in an English colony must have felt like. A big fireplace, comfortable couches and few people until people arrive for cocktail hours. The Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery Hotel, New York, NY 10003
If you’re in the Upper East Side: the Metropolitan Museum of Art Yes, the Met is an incredible museum. But it is also a nice refuge. Few people know that you can pay as much as you like for your ticket and that there is good wifi throughout the museum. Needless to say there are countless spots, from meditating at the temple of Dendur to relaxing at the Chinese courtyard. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
Also in the Upper East Side: the New York Society Library Another gem in the Upper East is this membership based library. However its reading room is open to non-members and delightfully peaceful and stuck in another century. New York Society Library, 53 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075
If you’re in Soho: the Earth Room Imagine you walk into a massive loft in Soho and it’s completely filled … with dirt. Welcome to the Earth Room, an installation by the artist Walter de Maria in 1977, where 250 cubic yards of earth cover 3,600 square feet of Soho. I also recommend its sister installation, “The Broken Kilometer” by the same artist. The Earth Room, 141 Wooster St, New York, NY 10012
Also in Soho: Housing Works Soho The non-profit Housing Works helps people affected by HIV/Aids and as part of their offering runs a used book store just a street away from busy Broadway in Soho. It’s magical space and has a little cafe.
If you’re in the West Village: the Jefferson Market Library Only recently I realized that this amazing building on 6th Avenue, originally built as a courthouse, is actually a library. It was voted one of the ten most beautiful buildings in America by a poll of architects in the 1880s, and once you’re inside you’ll quickly see why. Jefferson Market Library, 425 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY
If you’re in Tribeca: the lobby of the Roxy Hotel The former Tribeca Grand hotel offers a quiet lobby and lounge for undisturbed meetings and time to recharge. The Roxy Hotel, 2 6th Ave, New York, NY 10013