New York City is so densely populated that even its quiet areas aren't particularly quiet. Following are six places in Manhattan where you're unlikely to run into anyone you know and where, for once, you might actually be able to hear yourself think.
The Conservatory Garden - A designated "quiet zone" of Central Park, the 105th Street garden is too far uptown to be on the radar of most Upper East Siders. The English bit, featuring a fountain modeled after characters from Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, is a great place to catch up on reading.
The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden - This recreated 1799 carriage-house hidden in Sutton Place served as a hotel from 1826-1823 for New Yorkers looking to flee from urban life. Today, the house and its garden are still open to city dwellers wishing to escape to another place and time.
Peace Fountain - The bizarre-looking sculpture created by Columbia alumnus Greg Wyatt is a nice change of pace from the marble likenesses of great white men that adorn most city parks. And this park, which is adjacent to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, is usually fairly empty.
The Lighthouse on Roosevelt Island - The lighthouse at the northernmost tip of Roosevelt Island is the closest thing to New England in NYC. If you can't find peace on this small patch of grass surrounded by water on all sides, the problem might be internal.
Tudor City - Originally built as tenements and slaughterhouses, the buildings of Tudor City intentionally face inward. This gives the gardens of the apartment complex a serenity that most Manhattan neighborhoods lack. Reflect on global peace by taking in the view of the UN and the East River.
9th and C Community Garden - One of the largest of the tiny East Village community gardens, 9th and C features a goldfish pond, an immense weeping willow and a gazebo. The rustic bench is as suitable for a sunset chat as any Montauk porch.
If you do manage to score an invite to an actual tranquil summer beach house, bring a copy of Secret New York as a gift to make sure you get invited back.