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The view of Manhattan’s east side from Roosevelt Island’s esplanade
Photograph: Shutterstock

These are the 10 most serene escapes in New York City

The top spot might surprise you.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Despite its hectic and buzzy nature, New York City does have its peaceful spots.

Casago, a vacation rental property management company servicing homeowners and guests in Mexico and the U.S., actually did a study to find the most peaceful tourist spots across the U.S., and found that Roosevelt Island is New York City’s top spot to find some zen.

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If you don’t know, Roosevelt Island is actually considered a neighborhood of Manhattan although it is in the middle of the East River and has a very different vibe. The quiet island, which used to be called Blackwell’s Island and served as home to hospitals, an almshouse and an insane asylum during the 19th and 20th centuries, is now home to residential high rises, a smattering of restaurants and shops, and more recently, Cornell Tech’s new campus.

It feels more suburban than any other Manhattan neighborhood and has a gorgeous view of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines, best seen from its esplanade and the Panorama Room on the top of the new Graduate Roosevelt Island hotel. It has wide-open spaces to picnic and chill, too, from the school campus to the FDR Four Freedoms Park.

Other spots around NYC were called out for being peaceful, too: Green-Wood Cemetery, Strawberry Fields (the John Lennon Memorial), World Trade Center’s Liberty Park, The Met Cloisters, St. Joseph’s Chapel Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero, Trinity Church, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

A map of NYC shows icons of the 10 most peaceful tourist spots
Map: courtesy of Casago

“Marooned in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, with the Queensboro Bridge reaching overhead, Roosevelt Island is the city’s most peaceful spot and ‘a happy surprise,’ according to one reviewer,” the study says. “The island is ‘a great way to escape the crowds,’ says another: ‘This island is a car, bike, skateboard, free zone. It has a car park; then you cross a small bridge to the wooded island and wander through the trees to a clearing where Roosevelt greets you with a wave… It’s peaceful and a wonderful place to reflect and just be.’”

To be clear, it is not car-free—it just has less traffic and one “major” road that encircles the island. It’s actually great for cycling for this reason.

To figure out which spots deserve “most peaceful,” Casago looked at publicly available Tripadvisor reviews in all 50 U.S. states and the top 20 most famous U.S. cities. They recorded the number of “peaceful” mentions for attractions in each state and the 20 cities in the “things to do” section of TripAdvisor. Once they had the list, the Casago team went to each attraction’s specific page and collected a series of metrics: Location, Attraction category and the number of English reviews. They excluded some categories such as spas, 4WD, horse riding tours and more. Finally, Casago ranked the attractions for every state, city and the top 10 U.S. overall based on the number of “peaceful” mentions per 1000 English reviews. The analysis of the data is correct as of September 2023.

Where are your peaceful NYC spots?

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