Mental Health Day: Take Yourself on a Date in NYC
Manhattanites and out-of-town visitors alike know the feeling: the sidewalks are teeming with speed-walking commuters, the city smells like hot garbage, and your social calendar looks like long division. If you’re a tourist, you’re tired from apologizing (needlessly but without fail) to the strangers who body-check you on the subway. Face it: you’re over-stimulated and it’s time to go on a solo staycation to clear your head.
1. The Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City, NY 11106
Nestled amongst warehouses in a nearly desolate part of Long Island City, this small museum is walled off from its environs by a fortress-like embankment. And you won’t need to swat your way through a thicket of selfie sticks on your stroll through its intimate outdoor sculpture garden. They’re not allowed here.
Once inside, you’ll find yourself in a tranquil exhibition space dedicated to the Japanese American artist, architect, and designer Isamu Noguchi, whose work emerged from the minimalist and surrealist traditions in New York and Paris. Wander through, and treat your gaze to a perfect tubular circle made of banded red marble; polished granite forms that seem to stretch and drape like putty; and hefty blocks of chiseled basalt.
2. Greenacre Park
217 East 51st Street, New York, NY 1002
In bustling midtown, just four short blocks east of Rockefeller Center, is a 60 by 120-foot plot of greenery, set back from the street, so unassuming you might miss it if you weren’t seeking it out. But step into this “vest-pocket park,” installed in 1971 by Abby Rockefeller, and you’ll feel transported. Stepped terraces, leafy bowers, a canopy of honey locust trees and the soft roar of a 25-foot waterfall complete the impression that you’re miles, not mere paces, from Third Avenue.
3. The Albertine Reading Room
972 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10075
As you pass through the opulent ground floor lobby of the Fifth Avenue mansion that houses the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, feel free to imagine you’re James Bond on a mission to seduce a pencil-skirted attaché. But since you’re enlightened enough to know that might not end well, you’re heading for a nook in the Albertine reading room, where you’ll curl up with a good novel. This gem of a bookshop has 14,000 contemporary and classic titles in French and English, sourced from 30 French-speaking countries. It’s where to go to find an English translation of “The End of Eddy,” by Edouard Louis, about growing up gay and poor in rural France, or “Black Moses,” by Alain Mabanckou, an Oliver Twist –like tale set in 1970s Congo-Brazzaville. The reading room is open to the public seven days a week.
4. Cha-An Teahouse
230 East 9th St. 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10003
It’s not hard to find refuge from the gritty chaos of Saint Mark’s Place in the East Village, if you know where to go. Cha-An teahouse is just a block away and one flight up, but you’ll feel like you’re in another hemisphere. This tiny haven, decorated with tatami mats and washi-paper lamps, also happens to serve some of the best Japanese desserts that can be had in New York City. The homemade mochi (pictured) come three per order in flavors you can mix and match: green tea, black sesame, and earl grey chocolate.