Non-stop New York is known for its mile-a-minute pace and mercurial energy, but thankfully here’s respite to be found... if you know where to look. From MoMa’s monthly quiet mornings, to lesser-known cultural escapades, here are our top picks on where to turn off, tune out, and drop in.
Embrace the jetlag and rise with the early birds for a morning amble along the High Line, the elevated train track turned picture-pretty park with panoramic city and Hudson vistas, stretching from the Meatpacking District all the way up to 34th Street. Meditation moment complete, totter downstairs for a quick n’ easy restorative breakfast at foodie mecca, the Chelsea Market.
If you’re lucky enough to be in town on a first Wednesday of the month, tiptoe into the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) for one of its ‘Quiet Mornings’, a crowd-free, early-hour slot which encourages aficionados to turn off their phones, clear their heads and take in the gallery’s glorious, world-class modern art collection in respectful silence. The lovely folk at MoMa even provide a dedicated drop-in meditation space, with guided sessions (8.30-9am).
One of the lesser-known – and therefore lesser-mobbed – cultural wonders of the Big Apple is Baron Henry’s immense, opulent neoclassical mansion. With nary a flick of paint more recent than the C.19th, The Frick Collection secretes a dazzling stash of European art, statuary and furniture, spanning Rembrandt to Renoir. The regular classical music concerts, best enjoyed from the garden courtyard, are especially zen-some.
To really get away from it all, without even having to leave Manhattan, make a beeline for The Cloisters, a hush-hush, truly special sister to The Met on the northernmost tip of the island. The galleries and chapel are dedicated to the decorative arts, architecture, and sculpture of medieval Europe, while the gardens give way to staggering views across the Hudson; perfect for a peaceful picnic.
Whichever Zen pursuit you plump for, nothing can top a blissful retreat to the Peninsula Spa at the end of the day. Relieve those tired trotters with an aromatherapy dip in your private suite, and sample a variety of luxuriant pamper packages, from a Biologique Recherche facial to the signature Deep Tissue Experience. And relaaaaax...
The High Line / Gansevoort St / Meatpacking District / thehighline.org
Chelsea Market / 75 9th Ave / 7am-2am Mon-Sat, till 10pm Sun / chelseamarket.com
Museum of Modern Art / W 53rd St / Midtown West / +1 212 708 9400 / next Quiet Morning is Wednesday, 5 Sep, starting at 7.30am / moma.org
The Cloisters / 99 Margaret Corbin Dr / Washington Heights / +1 212 923 3700 / 10am-5.15pm daily / metmuseum.org
Peninsula Spa / 21/F / The Peninsula New York / Midtown / +1 212 903 3910 / 9am-9pm daily / peninsula.com