Last week, I took time away from the office to visit some of the city’s quietest places​ –​ Central Park, Stuyvesant Square, ​Carl Schurz Park, ​and Fort Tryon Park, all in Manhattan.

New York — especially Manhattan — has an intensity like no other place on earth. I was born here — and after many years of wandering, I can imagine living nowhere else. Still, from time to time, even this native son craves an hour or two of complete stillness and quiet.

​To find true solitude, there’s no place like the Bronx Botanical Garden on a weekday. Here you can see outcrops of Fordham gneiss: the Bronx’s rocky spine that is over a billion years old. You can walk under the only remaining first-growth forest in the city, some of whose trees probably were seedlings when Dutch still was our official language.

This photo is of a restored mill on the Bronx River, the city’s only fresh-water river. It once powered dozens of water mills, ​the power supply for the city’s first industrial age, but now it is largely hidden (though it still asserts itself by flooding every few years). Sitting in the shade, listening to the river, time almost stops.Mill