8 Places to Find Peace and Quiet in Central Park
Central Park can be full of hustle and bustle, but there are times when you just want to slow down and soak in the beauty of the park without all the distractions. Believe it or not, it is possible to find some tranquility in Central Park - you just need to know where to find it.
Quiet Zones within the Park
Central Park has designated eight areas as "quiet zones" in the park, meaning there's no music allowed, and if you have a radio, you need headphones for it. In addition, dogs must always be leashed and on the pathway in quiet zones, you can't run, rollerblade, ride your bike, or participate in any organized sports (think touch football), and you can't feed birds or other wildlife.
What you can do is curl up with a good book, listen to a book on tape (with headphones, of course!) or just sit and contemplate. So what are these quiet zones?
1. Bethesda Terrace: This terrace is mid-park at 72nd St. at the end of the Mall, and many consider it the "heart of Central Park." The terrace includes a fountain that overlooks the Lake that is the perfect spot to sit and enjoy the scenery.
2. Conservatory Garden: Located off of 5th Ave. at 105th St., this garden is actually three gardens in one. The gardens are each designed in different styles (Italian, English and French), and they provide the perfect place to stop by on your lunch break to read a good book.
3. Conservatory Water: This body of water located on the east side of the park from 72nd to 75th St. is also known as Model Boat Pond. In the spring and summer, people flock to this pond to navigate their model boats. The area is serene and peaceful, and visitors can get lost in watching the boats sail around the pond.
4. East Green: The East Green provides a tranquil area for visitors to the east side of the park. Once used as a cricket field, it is now a lawn full of beautiful blooming trees. It is located on the east side from 67th to 76th St.
5. Shakespeare Garden: This garden sits between the Swedish Cottage and Belvedere Castle on the west side of the park between 79th and 80th St. It is full of flowers and lush plants, and it creates a perfect intimate setting. If you're not going to read one of Shakespeare's plays or sonnets here, you can at least settle down with another good piece of literature.
6. Sheep Meadow: This 15-acre pasture is located off of W. 66th St. and is a good place to sunbathe on a warm, summer day. Because the area is also Wi-Fi enabled, it's the perfect place to check your email or go online to look up everything from current events to the Yankees box score to Phuket, Thailand hotels if you happen to be planning a vacation.
7. Strawberry Fields: Named after the Beatles' song Strawberry Fields Forever, and in honor of John Lennon who lived near Central Park, this quiet area is located on the west side of the park at W. 72nd St. It is lined with benches that are shaded by elm trees - ideal for a respite during a warm day.
8. Turtle Pond: This pond is located mid-park between 79th and 80th St. Here you can be surrounded by turtles, fish, frogs and dragonflies, and enjoy a moment of peace of quiet from the busy world around you.
Where to Go When You Don't Want Quiet
If you've had enough of the quiet zones and would prefer some more action, you don't have to walk very far. Just steps away from many of these zones are more populous (and noisy!) areas such as the Mall and the Great Lawn. One of the many enthralling aspects of Central Park is that there are so many different spaces – both noisy and quiet – within its 843 acres.
— by Kathryn Sucich
Kathryn Sucich is a freelance writer. During her rare moments of quiet time, she likes to read, do yoga or go online to read up on topics as diverse as book recommendations, celebrity gossip and Thailand travel advice.