4. Tropical Oasis at Ford Foundation

The area around Grand Central tends to be the noisiest and most hectic areas of Manhattan, but walk just a few avenues over to the Ford Foundation building and a tropical wonderland awaits. Located on 43rd street just off of Second Avenue, the atrium of the Ford Foundation building is comprised of a beautifully verdant subtropical garden, with a reflecting pool at its center. Walking around the beautiful terraced space is indeed surreal and offers a respite from the concrete jungle outside.

Originally designed by architects Dan Kiley, Kevin Roche, and John Dinkeloo, the building was deemed a New York City landmark in the 1990s. Struggling with asbestos and general wear-and-tear, the building closed in 2015 for a renovation costing $205 million. Its reopening has pleased many with its additions of a new public art gallery, improvements to the atrium garden, and the renaming of the building to the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice. An architectural treasure and naturalist’s delight, the building is certainly worth a visit for those looking for some quiet in the heart of midtown.