Whenever there’s a chance for a moment of peace in this city, New Yorkers know to take it. This week, Grand Central is making your commute a little less stressful with a pop-up Japanese zen garden in Vanderbilt Hall, part of the station’s annual Japan Week taking place March 8-10.
Rather than a lush landscape to walk through, zen gardens are made for looking. Grand Central’s will be made of large stones, moss and trees surrounded by carefully groomed gravel, soothing visitors with its gentle wave patterns and monochrome palette. You can watch Japanese gardeners create the signature designs — and test out your own raking skills (18+) — during select times.
For the three days of Japan Week, you’ll also find fresh and packaged foods (last year, takoyaki and matcha ice cream were among the nibbles), cultural events and technology demonstrations, courtesy of the Japan National Tourism Organization. This year, a special display will highlight Chiune Sugihara, known as the Japanese Oskar Schindler, who helped an estimated 6,000 Jewish refugees escape the Nazis through his post as the country’s vice-consul in Lithuania during World War II. All events and activities are free.
If you swing by and feel like sharing your zen on social media, participating Japan Week businesses are giving away some pretty sweet swag to the five best photos on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #japanweeknyc.