Relaxing places in NYC - Finding Silence in Secret Gardens

Imagine the secret garden we read about as children: an escape from the everyday, from noise and from troubles, our own oasis. Trees so green and wide, they stretch out across the sky, obscuring the skyscrapers beyond. Sunlight sneaks in through the leaves, shooting down like golden arrows. Purple flowers pop against the lush foliage. Beside a wish-filled fountain childlike statues stand, almost frozen in time, because there is no place else to spend your forever. It’s a place to decelerate in the midst of New York’s dizziness.

Unlike our long-lost fairy tales, this haven is real. Located in northern Central Park, the Conservatory Garden looks like the home for all those magical woodland creatures in Cinderella when they’re not helping out would-be princesses. It’s a place that’s otherworldly, yet right next to home, in the center of a city that’s the center of the world. A fantasy right in our backyards.

Just south, cyclists float by in packs, navigating carefully as to not destroy the serenity. Trees are awnings above that protect patrons from the elements, but if you look carefully, they give way to near-hidden paths enveloped in greenery and unlocking more secrets to the park’s terrain. Off of one of these paths you may find The Ravine amongst Central Park’s miles of nooks. Water dances down from the rocks above and flows into a pond, nature’s infinity pool, casting a reflection as if there were two skies. All you hear is the whispering water, making it a perfect place to meditate in the shade.

"Silence gives your mind an opportunity to recharge while boosting the immune system. In fact, silence leads to the development of new brain cells."

On the opposite side of Manhattan you’ll find the Gardens of St. Luke, two acres of land where butterflies play and flowers grow as tall as you. The structure of the garden is its own greenhouse, providing warmth that attracts a variety of lush wildlife. Food is allowed on the grounds, so bring a blanket for some picnicking and cloud watching. It’s nearly the ideal backdrop for romance or just quiet contemplation. St. Luke’s, first built back in the 1800s, invokes a feel of yesteryear in the present, and the flowered grounds appear straight out of classic literary scenes, inspiring Jane Austen and the bards of yore.

In a city that hustles, there are always moments of quiet and wonder if you take a moment to slow down to find them. Let’s Finding Silence series be your guide to knowing how and where to stop and smell the flowers.

Gregoire, C. (2016, March 5). Why Silence Is So Good for Your Brain.

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