New York

Top 5 quiet places in Midtown Manhattan

by Tracy Kaler  |  Published March 4, 2018

Stealing a quiet moment in the heart of New York City might seem like an improbable task. Cab drivers honk, energetic New Yorkers chatter, and a steady stream of traffic creates a constant hum along Manhattan’s broad, bracing avenues. But, unbelievably, in the midst of the chaos, the city offers five sedate spots to collect your thoughts.

Bryant Park

Bryant Park (Photo: Dan Deluca at Flickr)

Bryant Park (Photo: Dan Deluca at Flickr)

This urban oasis sits smack dab in the center of Manhattan. Bryant Park’s proximity and peacefulness make it an enticing outdoor option that’s more convenient for most Midtowners than Central Park. Surrounded by several of New York’s architectural treasures – The American Radiator Building, The Bank of America Tower, and the modern Cobb/Pei masterpiece 7 Bryant Park – the public green space attracts lunching locals, out-of-town visitors, and passersby.

Between 40th and 42nd St and 5th and 6th Ave
(212) 768-4242
B, D, F or M train to 42nd St/Bryant Park or 7 train to 5th Ave

The New York Public Library

NYPL Room 316 (Photo: Vincent Desjardins at Flickr)

Since the famed Rose Reading Room is closed for restoration until later in 2016, Room 316 and Room 227 are pleasant alternatives if you’re seeking some time to regroup or concentrate on work. Not only do these spaces offer free Wi-Fi, but also you’ll undoubtedly be captivated by the stunning Beaux Arts architecture after stepping inside the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Once the Rose has reopened, settle into one of the 624 seats in this grand space recognized for its intricate plasterwork and Sistine-Chapel-like ceiling mural.

5th Ave at 42nd St
(212) 275-6975
B, D, F or M train to 42nd St/Bryant Park or 7 train to 5th Ave

Deacon Brodie’s Tavern

Pop into this Midtown dive for a few beers or your favorite cocktail. Probably the most subdued pub on rowdy Restaurant Row, Deacon Brodie, and its local, laid-back atmosphere remain a welcome change from noisier neighbors. You’ll find a good-size bar in the front, and comfy lounge seating toward the rear of the narrow, dimly lit tavern. Since it’s just steps from the Theater District, don’t be surprised if you sight a celebrity while you imbibe.

370 W 46th St
(212) 262-1452
A, C, E train to 42nd St

MoMA Sculpture Garden

MoMA Sculpture Garden (Photo: Modesto on Flickr)

A hidden courtyard positioned behind a soaring wall on 54th Street, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden has housed works by Calder, Picasso,  and Rodin, among other renowned artists. Disconnect from the world outside when you enter this enchanting parcel, an ideal spot to re-energize and appreciate modern art beyond MoMA’s doors. The sculpture garden is included in the museum entrance fee ($25), and open to the public each morning between 9:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. at no charge. MoMA offers free entry on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

11 W 53rd St, (enter garden on W 54th)
(212) 708-9400
B, D, F M to Rockefeller Center

Ford Foundation Building

How pleasant to be able to work in this modern office building on a daily basis. A real retreat in Tudor City, the landmark structure – with its light-filled atrium and gracious garden – is sure to impress. The Ford Foundation can be an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of Midtown East, should you choose to read, meet a friend, or unwind. Although there’s no seating or public restroom and food and drink aren’t permitted, you have an array of eateries to choose from within a five-minute walk.

32 E 43rd St
(212) 573-5000
4, 5, 6, 7, S train to 42nd St