The Hidden Waterfalls of NYC

New York City isn’t just a huge, concrete jungle. Behind the bustling traffic and tall skyscrapers, are both natural and man-made hidden escapes. What is better than going off the path and discovering a waterfall in NYC? The city is home to many gorgeous waterfalls, from natural waterfalls found in Central Park to man-made falls in the Financial District. We’re positive you’ll stumble upon the perfect one and escape from the relentless sounds of the city for a while.

Surround Sound Waterfall in Greenacre Park

  • PC: The Cultural Landscape Foundation
  • If you’re looking for a waterfall so loud that you’re unable to hear anything else in the city, this might be the spot for you. Located at 51st St and Third Ave, is a waterfall that is so loud, it drowns out all city noise. It’s the perfect escape from the city. With multiple seating spots to eat lunch or meet up with friends, it’s the best hidden secret in Midtown.

    Waterfall Oasis in Paley Park

    PC: Project for Public Spaces

    Another hidden gem in Midtown is the oasis in Paley Park. Located at West 52nd St between Madison and 5th Ave, it’s a great spot to zone out and enjoy a more natural scene in the city. The waterfall is a good 20-feet, so take some pictures and listen to the relaxing sound of the falls.

    Largest Midtown Waterfall

    PC: Viewing NYC

    Located at E 47th between 2nd and 3rd Ave and near the United Nations, is a park that houses several small waterfalls, a curved cascade, and a waterfall tunnel. It’s a pretty secluded spot, so this may be the perfect hidden gem to check out if you’re not into big crowds. It’s located right next to the Consulate General of Belgium and British Consulate General New York.

    National 9/11 Memorial Waterfalls

    PC: 911 Memorial

    The waterfalls featured as the centerpiece of Michael Arad’s 9/11 Memorial is titled “Reflecting Absence,” and are also the largest man-made waterfalls in North America. The significance of them? If you don’t know already, each of these waterfalls are footprints of where each Twin Tower stood before September 11, 2001. Both about an acre in size, they release around 26,000 gallons of water every minute over the 30-ft walls. 

    The Bronx River

    PC: Fine Art America

    There are several waterfalls located along the Bronx River, most of which are connected to water mills that date back to the 1700s. The Snuff Mill Waterfall is located at the New York Botanical Garden. While this waterfall is technically a dam, when it was constructed to power the Snuff Mill in 1840, the water wheel is no longer there. The Rock Garden Cascade was built in the 1930s and is considered off the beaten path, and can be quite the quiet oasis on leisurely days. The 13-ft River Park Waterfall near the Bronx Zoo entrance is also technically a dam on the Bronx River. It’s located near a large playground, so if you’re looking to get away from the city with your kids, they can enjoy the playground while you enjoy some falls. The last waterfall along the Bronx River is the Twin Dam Falls. There are two falls, one is a classic waterfall drop and can be viewed from the Mitsubishi Riverwalk Outlook. The other is best viewed from inside the Bronx Zoo and is near the Bison Reserve.

    All these waterfalls are within walking distance of each other. If you’re visiting one, maybe just make a day out of it and visit all of them!

    Central Park Falls

    PC: Secret NYC

    Even if you’re an avid Central Park goer, you may not have discovered some of the waterfalls inside the park. The five waterfalls are located north of the park and are completely man-made. The same water running through these falls is also the drinking water you get from the tap, coming from a 48-inch pipe hidden by the rocks at the Pool Grotto. The Loch is a 14-ft cascade located in the North Woods. To find the rest of the falls, the Central Park website suggests to enter through the West side from Glen Span Arch around 102nd St, and follow the moving water.

    Brooklyn Botanic Garden waterfall

    PC: Flickr

    According to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website, the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden is one of the oldest and most visited Japanese-inspired gardens outside of Japan. Constructed between 1914 and 1915, the garden is a blend of ancient hill-and-pond style as well as a more modern style. The garden features hills contoured around a pond, an island, and a waterfall. Designed by Japanese landscape architect, Takeo Shiota, the three-acre garden is a splendid place to take a stroll in, while listening to the sounds of the fall. Some other architectural elements include a Shinto shrine, a pavilion, wooden bridges, stone lanterns, and a wooden torii. 

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