New York City may be the concrete jungle, but that doesn’t mean there are not plenty of opportunities to plan an urban escape. Below, we have compiled a list of some of Manhattan’s greatest waterfalls hidden inside pedestrian parks. Whether you’re seeking a quiet morning reflection or a backdrop for your afternoon lunch break, visit one of these hidden New York City gems.
Mid-Central Park at 103rd Street
Conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the Ravine is located in the 40-acre North Woods. Reigning as the only stream valley in Central Park, the area was designed to resemble the wild beauty of the Adirondacks.
217 East 51st Street, between Second and Third Avenues
Designed by Hideo Sasaki and open since 1971, this park is composed of three levels. The highlight by far is its 25-foot-high waterfall, featuring huge sculpted granite blocks.
3 East 53rd Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues
Reigning as the original “vest pocket park” (a small park accessible to the general public), Paley Park was conceived as the prototype of a new kind of public space by Robert Zion. Since 1967, the 20-foot-high waterfall has undoubtedly dominated the 1/10th-acre space, which includes seating areas, honey locust trees, and vertical lawns of English Ivy.
4. Nameless Park!
East 47th Street between Second and Third Avenues
This nameless space near the United Nations offers the perfect opportunity to drown out the city noise: a circular wall of falling water.
180 Greenwich Street
Set in the footprints of the Twin Towers, these two recessed pools offer the profound opportunity to reflect upon the tragic events of 9/11. The continuous cascade of water falls into an abyss without a visible bottom – symbolizing the absence of human life left behind in the wake of the events. Surrounding the pools on bronze parapets are the names of those nearly 3,000 lives lost in the attack on 9/11, as well as in the bombing on February 26, 1993.