For when you just need a break: Quiet places to slow down, unwind and relax in New York City

For when you just need a break: Quiet places to slow down, unwind and relax in New York City

How do you relax in a city famous for never sleeping? In a new experimental film, director Liz Sargent explores this thorny conundrum by examining how artists find ways to break through the din of Manhattan to experience quieter moments.

Titled “Slow Down: River to River,” the atmospheric short is an extension of Lower Manhattan Cultural Center’s annual River to River festival. Sargent and her team captured artists and their work on site, imbuing the finished product with an intimate look at pieces from Pam Tanowitz, Ernesto Pujol, Jennifer Monson, André Daughtry and more. Check out a trailer above.

To celebrate the film’s world premiere on Wednesday, Aug. 7 on the ALL ARTS streaming app and broadcast channel, we compiled our favorite places to slow down and unwind in Manhattan. This list will continue to grow, so feel free to drop your own recommendation in the comments.

Clinton Community Garden

Clinton Community Garden/Facebook

Nestled in Hell’s Kitchen, the Clinton Community Garden has provided Midtown residents with a respite since 1984, when a group of neighbors transformed the space from a literal garbage heap to a lush, verdant oasis. For $15, those who work or live in the area can purchase a key and have access to it year-round. See more details and learn about the history of the garden here.

The Guggenheim’s “Silent Nights”

Courtesy: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

It might seem strange to include a museum known for its raucous late-night parties on this list, but here we are. As part of its “Silent Nights” series, held the first Tuesday of every month, the Guggenheim dims its lights and encourages patrons to enjoy the on-view exhibitions in a “meditative” state of mind. Read more about the events here. 

Poet’s House

Courtesy: Poet’s House

This Manhattan touchstone aims to preserve poetry and make it accessible to all communities, regardless of wealth or privilege. Carve out a space for yourself in one of the free space’s many armchairs or simply browse the overstuffed bookshelves, which carry only poetry. There’s also a children’s room and space for you to create your own works using old-fashioned typewriters on site.

New York Botanical Garden

Courtesy: New York Botanical Garden

An obvious entry on this list, the New York Botanical Garden is teeming with quiet and secluded spaces. We recommend the Thain Family Forest, a bucolic enclave with trees that date back to the 17th century. Take a fragrant stroll around the park or stop at a nearby bench to gaze at the Bronx River — the choice is yours.

The Morgan Library and Museum

Courtesy: The Morgan Library

It will come as no surprise to ALL ARTS fans that we’ve included the Morgan Library and Museum on our list. In addition to hosting exhibitions perfect for bibliophiles, the reading room is an ornate and decadent spot to unwind with a book or zone out to a preferred podcast. Find out more about the museum’s upcoming renovation here.

Have something to add to this list? Email edevaneg@wliw.org.

Top Image: Still from "Slow Down: River to River."