Travel Advice: Tranquility In The Big Apple

Q. My wife and I will be in New York City for a month this fall; she is going for work, and I am tagging along. I am thrilled, but I wonder if I'll get tired of all the hustle and bustle. Is there a place I can go to escape?

A. When you need a quick refuge, head to Central Park. Believe it or not, the park — which stretches 2 1/2 miles long (between 59th and 110th Streets) and half a mile wide (between 5th Avenue and Central Park West) —can feel downright bucolic in spots. Bird-watching and rock-climbing are popular activities.

Just off the park on the Upper East Side is a hidden gem of quietude: the Frick Collection. Amid paintings by artists such as Whistler and Italian Renaissance sculptures, there are nooks where you can hide away. According to its website, "the Collection attempts to preserve the ambience of Mr. Frick's private house." At times it is so uncrowded, you can imagine it is your private house. (1-212-288-0700;

If you still have jangled nerves, hop the A Train to the Cloisters, a little-visited branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art showcasing medieval art. The building itself is a compilation of five former monasteries, and a hushed peace permeates the place still. It's in Tryon Fort Park, which overlooks the Hudson (1-212-923-3700;

Another getaway easily accessed via subway is the New York Botanical Garden, a 250-acre park in the Bronx. Head for the 50-acre Native Forest, where you can walk among 350-year-old trees (1-718-817-8700;

Governors Island ( —an island off the southern tip of Manhattan that you can reach by ferry — is just 800 yards from Manhattan, but it feels a world away. It is open only Friday through Sunday, and closes for the season on Oct. 10.