Meet Highland Park–A Favorite Secret Space

Meet Highland Park–A Favorite Secret Space

Assistant editor Dan Hoffman takes us on a tour of his favorite refuge from city life.

  • A few of the trees of Highland Park in New York City.

    Up on the Roof

    Here’s a view from my roof–the line of trees in the distance is Highland Park, but I never knew that until the first time I discovered it, almost by accident.  Sometimes it’s as if those trees are calling me, and I just have to drop whatever I’m doing and get out there to be in silence.

  • Bike path in Highland Park in New York City.

    A Bike Path Built for You

    A big chunk of the park is a high plateau around which the parks department put a nice foot/bike path a few years ago. As you walk along the path, the sound of distant traffic gradually recedes into the background. 

  • A former reservoir for water is now filled with forest in Highland Park, New York City.

    A Forest-Filled Reservoir

    Before Highland Park was constructed in the early 1900s, the area inside the plateau was a reservoir supplying much of the city’s water. Since then, most of it has been emptied, and large parts are overgrown with forest. I can’t wait for spring, when the leaves return.

  • A view of Brooklyn from Highland Park, New York City

    Brooklyn Beyond the Trees

    From the southern section of the foot path, there’s a great view of Brooklyn in the distance. I like the way the urban architecture contrasts so sharply with the natural beauty of the park. It adds a new dimension, where I’m in touch with the city where I live, but also a part of something greater. 

  • Taking in a beautiful view in Highland Park, New York City.

    Hitting the Pause Button

    There are many great spots in Highland Park just to sit and take in the view! I sat in this spot for about 20 minutes before getting up and continuing my walk. 

  • Cypress Hills Cemetery where Jackie Robinson rests.

    Where Jackie Robinson Rests

    Highland Park is surrounded by cemeteries. This one is Cypress Hills Cemetery, where the famous baseball player Jackie Robinson rests. Rather than make me feel gloomy, all the tombstones heighten the spiritual feeling of the park. 

  • A peaceful landscape in New York City's Highland Park.

    Where Is Everyone?!

    This is surely the best part of Highland Park–it recalls the pastoral landscape of the Midwest, right in the center of Brooklyn and Queens, whose combined population exceeds 2 million!

    My colleagues at Mysterious Ways have found their own spiritual retreats in and around the big city.

    For more Secret Spaces throughout the world, check out our Mysterious Ways Secret Spaces slideshow,and be sure to tell us about the little-known spiritual hideaways you discover in your community!

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