In the city that never sleeps, it can be tough to find a moment of zen. Siobhan Wall, an expert on discovering peaceful places in chaotic cities and the author of "Quiet New York," explored every inch of every borough to profile 120 quiet places.
After becoming partially deaf, Wall discovered that the stress of having to listen to daytime and nighttime traffic can have long-term effects on our cardiovascular system. Her book makes it easy to find beautiful, hidden places in New York where the main sounds are birdsong or the barely audible sound of turning pages in an impressive public library.
Metro caught up with Wall to narrow down her five favorite peaceful places in New York City.
1) Brooklyn Botanic Garden (990 Washington Ave. Brooklyn, N.Y.)
“One of my top five places would be the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for the variety of plants and huge trees,” says Wall. You can walk through the wild Native American Garden or sit by the tranquil lake of the Japanese Garden. This untamed landscape has something for everyone.
2) Isham Park (Inwood, Manhattan, NY)
Find a moment of rest upon the stone benches overlooking a spectacular view from the top of a steep hill. Wall says, “It felt as if I was on top of the world – children climbing trees, families having picnics on the grass. It seemed very relaxed, as if everyone can forget their cares in this lovely park.”
3) Irish Hunger Memorial (290 Vesey St. NY)
“A modern memorial to people who died in the famine, but a very beautiful place. Large stones engraved with the names of the Irish counties have been placed in the field,” says Wall. The main attraction of this artistically designed monument to the Irish famine is a reconstructed cottage from County Mayo.
4) Lefferts Manor Bed & Breakfast (80 Rutland Rd. Brooklyn, NY)
Get away and still feel at home at this welcoming bed and breakfast on a tree-lined street with large decorative bedrooms. Wall says, “This brownstone building has incredibly comfortable big brass beds and large bathrooms with cast iron baths and lion clawed feet.”
5) Vanessa’s Dumpling House (118 Eldridge St. NY)
There are three branches of Vanessa’s Dumpling House in New York City but the Chinatown branch is by far the quietest. However, this spot - famous among the locals - can draw a crowd on Friday and Saturday nights. “Not only do they not play background music, but the food is cheap and delicious,” says Wall.