Upicnic | Top 5 Public Indoor Spaces to have a Picnic in New York

Top 5 Public Indoor Spaces to have a Picnic in New York

BY MARTA
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9/15/2016

New York weather is clearly in that sweet spot between Summer and Fall when you are glad to dust off your hoodies and shop for a couple of new Autumn-colored scarves. Yet, I am not ready to let go of picnics. I should maybe be willing to jump on the pumpkin-themed bandwagon, were it not for my total and complete hatred of the taste (or lack thereof) of pumpkin.

Yet, I find myself longing to find places where I can go picnic rain or shine – and I must admit, New York City has not let me down.

I have tried clinging to Central Park and rerouting my fellow picnickers to the Ladies’ Pavilion and the underside of the Bethesda Fountain Terrace. Both fine options when in a pinch, but if it’s raining heavily, you’ll still get drenched just walking there.

Never fear, the solutions are many. You see, in Europe, men of wealth used to build monuments to their gods in the form of magnificent, ornate churches. Forward a few centuries here in New York, companies with particularly deep pockets erect cathedrals of commerce in the forms of majestic public atriums – because they know everybody needs a place to hide for an hour or two to charge their phone, sit down, and use the wi-fi.

Why not have a picnic there then? Here are the top indoor public spaces where nobody will bat an eyelash if you show up with a picnic basket and lay it all out either on the table or a cozy corner.

The Ford Foundation Atrium

Located at 320 E 43rd St, this indoor garden is a veritable greenhouse – or indoor garden, whatever definition you prefer – complete of a pond and plush greenery all over. Seating space in not great – in the sense that you can set up shop on the steps or the bench running along the perimeter. And to my utmost dismay, no skinny dipping will be allowed in the pond – because some people just like to watch the world burn.

The Winter Garden at Brookfield Place

Located at 220 Vesey Street (West of West Street), Brookfield Place offers a number of location options both indoors and outdoors. During the winter, the complex builds out an ice-skating rink, giving couples mad possibilities for a one-stop romantic date: STEP 1 have a picnic in the indoor Winter Garden, surrounded by gorgeous palms, with breathtaking views of the Hudson River; STEP 2 go ice-skating, avoid breaking any bones, and take advantage of the thousands of occasions for innocent physical contact; STEP 3 live happily ever after – possibly, with a hot cocoa.

The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

Located at 61 W 62nd St, the Atrium is home to the Lincoln Center ticketing booths, plus is a very popular public indoor space, so by no means a quiet spot. But hey, it’s got tables and benches and outlets, aaaand plants hanging on the walls. It’s a great spot for a casual picnic that doesn’t need a very 

romantic or enclosed atmosphere. They occasionally host live performances, so check on their calendar to make sure you don’t randomly walk in a tribal music showcase - and if you are ever out of coffee, there’s a Starbucks right next door… #priorities

The Atrium at the Deutsche Bank Building

Located at 60 Wall Street, this architecturally stunning Atrium is an absolutely exquisite example of what public indoor spaces should be like. Featuring four indoor fountains, as well as giant palms and white marble tiles everywhere, this Atrium has plenty of tables and chairs for you to hang out with your friends, family or date – plus it’s spotlessly clean all the time (including the bathrooms)… definitely one of New York’s indoor picnicking gems.

The Atrium at the IBM Building

Located at 590 Madison Ave, this public space is a wonderful oasis in busy midtown-east. It’s good for everything from a picnic, to a power nap, or just a work coffee. And don’t worry, even though this Atrium is not noisy, it’s also not quiet enough for people to hear you blasting Beyoncé through your headphones. The space is broken up by ground-height planters with nice tall plants (I believe Bamboo, but I am not quite the botanist). Only downside, no free wi-fi… and yes, I too expected more from IBM.

 

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