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10 Secret Spots Across New York City to Explore This Summer
Want to escape the concrete jungle? Slip away to these tucked-away oases.
Find sanctuary in tranquil corners across the city that never sleeps. (Getty Images).
New York City's vibrant streets, eclectic neighborhoods and iconic landmarks charm visitors year-round. Every day, millions of people scour the city in search of the next "it" thing, whether it's a show, a gallery, a store, an incredible restaurant or simply a meeting point for friends for a late-night rendezvous. With its seemingly endless array of trendy cocktail bars, cutting-edge restaurants and culture-rich enclaves, New York City is truly enchanting, but the hustle can be exhausting. Sometimes, even die-hard city dwellers need a quiet sanctuary to relax and unwind in NYC. Luckily, New York City also has secret oases available at your beck and call. When you need a respite this summer, visit these secret, under-the-radar green spaces, gardens and serene spots removed from the fray.
Aire Ancient Baths New York
The Aire Ancient Baths are tucked beneath Tribeca's streets, offering an alluring place to unwind after wandering through the dynamic and serene NYC neighborhood. As you enter in the cavernous room, candles and lanterns line the brick walls and hallways. Here, you can take 90 minutes or more to move from bath to bath to unwind. Take your pick from a variety of baths filled with bubbles, floating salts and more. Aire Ancient Baths even offers a red wine bath experience for oenophiles, along with a sauna.
The Beach at the Dream Hotel
Not all pools have to be isolated and underground. In the middle of NYC lies The Beach at the Dream Downtown, a rooftop pool with no comparison. The cabana deck takes you worlds away from the outrageous summer heat. Take the elevator to the roof of the hotel and all of a sudden you're somewhere cool and tropical. Dip your toes in the sand and don’t forget to look down into the lobby from the glass-bottom pool. It’s a fresh take on a Manhattan escape.
Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library
If you're a bibliophile, it's hard to resist engulfing yourself in a world of books. Located under the iconic Bryant Park, the New York Public Library features more than 4 million books, not to mention a striking Beaux-Art design. This enchanting reading room displays extensive murals atop the 52-foot ceiling of the structure. Carve out some time here to sit in the company of some of the most famous Pulitzer Prize winners of our time. Check out a reference book here or sit in awe of the room that surrounds you.
Wave Hill is a rarity in the tight confinements of New York City. Located in the Bronx, Wave Hill's public gardens fill 28-acres of open space with a view overlooking the Hudson River. Originally part of the William Lewis Morris estate in 1843, which Theodore Roosevelt’s family later rented in 1870, these gardens become covered with fauna in the spring and summer. Roam the green aisle ways of the flowers or tour the estate. What's more, Wave Hill is committed to the advancement of the arts in the New York community. . Enjoy a garden tour or participate in a neighborhood-driven art project.
The Time New York
Times Square is easily the biggest tourist spot in the Big Apple. Bright billboards and signage cover the streets, and tourists and traffic keep the area congested at all hours. This is any New Yorker's nightmare, which is why having a refuge like The Time Hotel smack dab in the middle of it all, couldn't be better. Just a short elevator ride up from the buzzing city streets, the Time New York offers a tranquil escape. Head to the LeGrande Lounge for a quiet, candlelit atmosphere.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Green space is coveted in Gotham, but fortunately there are plenty of parks and serene areas across all of the city's boroughs. Brooklyn Botanic Garden is one of those best-kept secret places amid the crowded streets of Brooklyn. Join neighbors and friends and stroll through the intricate patterns of flowers and shrubs.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park
Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is one of New York City's hidden gems. Located at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island lies, the park affords expansive granite and waterfront views, giving visitors a sense of peace and harmony in a densely populated city. It's hard to believe this park is even in the same vicinity of Manhattan. The monument pays homage to the former president and was built to remind visitors of a ship exploring the East River's current. Best of all, the park is free to explore and guided tours are available.
Yotel New York's Terrace
Large outdoor spaces where you can eat and drink are few and far between in the city that never sleeps. That's why Hell's Kitchen residents flock to the Yotel New York’s terrace. The space is 7,000 square feet and the largest of any hotel in Manhattan. There's even a heated and covered portion for those who want to join during rainier and colder days. Enjoy some great street food options and crafted cocktails as you gaze across the 42nd Street skyline.
Gantry Plaza State Park
If you want to relax in Adirondack chairs with a good book, travel to Long Island. Located along the water, this 12-acre park features fountains, playgrounds, fishing piers and even a dog run. Take a moment to stare at the restored gantries once used to unload barges in the middle of the park; in the warmer months, you can also enjoy relaxing in the park's plaza and catching a concert.
Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm
What was once a stark, white rooftop in Brooklyn is now Brooklyn Grange Farm, a green oasis in the middle of one of NYC's most popular areas. This urban garden, one of two rooftop farms in the city by Brooklyn Grange, is just part of the equation. The company grows over 50,000 pounds of organic produce. And the 2010 startup and now influencer didn't stop at farm production. They are deeply involved with community building and educational programming. This means you have the opportunity to stand in a sea of green in a world of concrete. Take advantage of their visiting days or join a tour to enter their rural paradise.
About En Route
Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.
Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.
Edited by Liz Weiss.
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