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Places to Escape the Bustle in Manhattan

by Mary Hahn

Part of the appeal of living in or visiting Manhattan is the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps, but sometimes we all need a little rest and relaxation. If you own a piece of Manhattan real estate or you have an AirBnB for the weekend, you have a place to escape the bustle, but for those of us visiting the city for a day trip, it can be hard to find a relaxing spot to read a book or enjoy a peaceful picnic on a sunny spring day.

For residents and tourists alike, here are a few of the best places in Manhattan where you can escape for a little R & R amongst the NYC clamor and commotion.

The High Line

For a look at Manhattan from a unique, aerial view, take a stroll down the High Line. No need to worry about cars and taxis as you travel through the city; the High Line provides a natural and art-filled oasis just above the hustle and bustle of traffic.

It currently runs about a mile and a half long, but the governor has proposed plans to extend the High Line to Moynihan Train Hall, and then Hudson River Park, to make commuting by foot through NYC a more enjoyable and accessible experience.

Sheep Meadow

If you’re looking for a relaxing spot to read a book or host a picnic in the park, Sheep Meadow is the perfect spot for you. It sprawls across 15 acres of Central Park, and from 1864 to 1934, the grounds were tended to by a herd of sheep, hence the name

In the 60’s, this meadow was the site of many concerts, protests and rallies, making it an iconic piece of Manhattan history. From peace rallies to end the Vietnam War, to Gay “Be-ins” commemorating the Stonewall Riots, many historical events took place on this land. Unfortunately, because of the frequent use, the lush green grass that once covered the meadow was ruined.

In the 80’s, the meadow was restored as part of a Central Park restoration project, and the land was brought back to its former beauty. As you enjoy a picnic on the grounds or fly a kite with your family in the park, take time to remember the important historical events that took place on this land.

New York Public Library

For those of us who find our peace surrounded by good literature, there’s no better place than the New York Public Library to escape the busy city streets. If you’re in Manhattan, head to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the first location of the New York Public Library system.

Just a quick walk from Bryant Park, this is a great place to visit if you’re looking for something quiet and indoors, as well as a place where you can enjoy the ornate marble architecture of the early 1900’s. The building itself is an iconic piece of New York history, but so are the artifacts inside. You can find rare copies of books like the Gutenberg Bible on display.