The Pleasant Frontier

In New York, relaxation is an absolute joke. Who wants to take it easy? There’s tons of work to do, friends to meet, plays to write, operas to see, restaurants to try and books to read. New York is no French Rivera. However, for a few minutes a day that city transforms into St. Tropez.

From Bryant Park to Tompkins Square Park lies New York’s rendition of a five star resort, the park bench. For a brief moment in time, New Yorkers exhale from the daily grind. They sip on some coffee, read the Times and forget about the intense sounds of car horns and sirens.

I always enjoyed my park benches. Whenever, I wanted to drown out the world around me, I put on some music, took out a note pad and just doodled. Real world stresses went out the window for the few precious minutes. After a short holiday on the city’s many benches, the overwhelming feeling of relaxation permeated as I head to work.

My park bench retreat often followed me on holiday as well. I’d find quiet little corners in Tokyo away from the music videos on the big screens, people traffic and metro.

In London, I would typically take the tube up to Hampstead. On Hampstead high street, which resembles a hilly village with upmarket shops, I lounged on a favorite bench. I loved the calm and how enchanting the cold winds felt against my face. It was especially nice being away from busy tourist spots.

Holidays are typically expensive and require car/air travel. Finding a nice bench with book, newspaper and coffee has a momentary sense of escapism. It’s free relaxation without a yoga mat or passport needed.

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  1. Yep. Research suggests that contact with Nature (even in the form of a manicured park) is a great relaxant. Even a picture of a natural scene gives the effect. It’s our habitat, for us humans. Feels right. I often play an improvising game in drama classes with students in Sao Paulo – an unrelentingly urban landscape for most – called Park Bench, but I’m not sure they actually know what it’s really like. Thought-provoking post. And thanks for the Like and Follow! Hope I can do them justice.


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