Just east of the magical meadow Nethermead, you will find historic landmarks in the Boathouse and the Audubon Center. But these structures of man-made beauty aren’t the reason why we consider the area to be an ideal spot for a contemplative getaway. Rather it is Audubon’s positioning relative to a secluded part of the Prospect Park Lake that makes it a scenic paradise. Directly across from the Boathouse, you cannot miss the majestic waterfall that flows into the Prospect Park Lake. The surrounding grass areas of the region provide perfect outlets for lounging out and enjoying the views, while the Lullwater Bridge borders in the periphery. Few areas, if any, are like this in Brooklyn. In terms of accessing the Audubon, it’s a similar journey as Nethermead. It’s a mere 5 minute walk from the Prospect Park subway station, which runs the B, S and Q lines. Coming from Downtown Brooklyn, via the Dekalb Ave or Barclays Center stations, this has you at the Audubon in 15 minutes or less. But as you know living in Brooklyn, the subway isn’t as accessible as it is in Manhattan, especially to Prospect Park. Given this, consider investing in an electric scooter or e-bike! Regularly frequenting a contemplative paradise like the Audubon area is totally worth it, especially if you’re a Brooklynite that doesn’t live directly off the B, S or Q trains. For all of you that live in Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens or Park Slope, you’ll be in the Audubon area within 15 minutes. What about CitiBikes? Well… depending on how old the available bikes are, it might have you working up a sweat by the time you get to the Audubon area. And we all know the stressful experience of chasing down the last e-bike at a nearby station. After running for 3 minutes, the bike is gone by the time you get there. But it was only three minutes! We know. All the more reason to control your own destiny with an e-bike or scooter that you can either store in your apartment or the basement of your building. With that in mind, let’s get into some of the beautiful features that the Audubon area has to offer.


As we briefly mentioned above, the highlight of the Audubon area is the Prospect Park Waterfall. Nestled under a rustic bridge made of tree trunks, staggered rocks line the sides of the waterfall as the steady stream flows directly into the lake below. One of our favorite practices is to sit on the rocks, close our eyes and listen to the water trickle down. Others often stand at the top of the bridge and look out. Compared to many other areas of Prospect Park, this waterfall is lightly-trafficked and represents the ultimate morning getaway. The waterfall's composition bears striking similarities to what you would see in the Adirondack Mountains or Catskills a few hours north in Upstate.



Alternatively, if you prefer to watch the waterfall from a distance, you can lounge out on the hillside. It’s the ideal place to bring a blanket and lay it down to simply journal and reflect. You can’t help but notice while sitting on the hillside the intimate nature of the experience. It’s a serene environment to start developing a morning routine of getting away before work and/or enjoying the summer sunsets. Like Wagner Cove in Central Park, the Audubon area manages to stay connected to a major water body (Prospect Park Lake), while still maintaining the feeling of being set-apart.



The lightly-trafficked Audubon area is one of the highlights to living in Brooklyn. Due to its location mid-park, it provides you with a contemplative reprieve from the hustle of the city, which is one of the reasons we’ve chosen to highlight it as one of our NYC getaways. In 2020, a remarkable report from Yale University, revealed “the studies point in one direction: Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive function.” The science is clear: getting at least two hours each week in green spaces is essential for our well-being. Accordingly, The goal of regularly visiting the Audubon area would be to start developing a lifestyle of reflection and contemplation. In ancient Israel, we observe Jesus adopting these same rhythms, long before these scientific discoveries were made. Often retreating into nature, this practice would later become known as silence and solitude. It’s just one of the compelling rhythms we see modeled in his way of life. For Jesus, it’s clear that what happened in the wilderness fueled him to go back out and engage the culture around him. We’d argue this has never been more relevant than today. When we’re out in nature and captivated by its beauty, it often produces a wonder and heightened awareness of the world around us. How could such a beautiful place exist? That wonder can lead to an awareness of the One who created all the transcendent beauty that surrounds us. And here’s the transformative part — we can allow that awareness to drive us into connection with God. For Jesus, this is what getting away was all about. Being out in nature was about who he connected with whilst he was out there. When we encounter God in these environments of refreshment, we are able to acquire the strength and perspective we need to go back out into the world. We need this to love other people well. To create the change we long to see. To become the truest and best version of ourselves. These rhythms are essential for our well-being. As we see from the science, they are built into the very fabric of our existence. We benefit spiritually, mentally and physically from these environments of refreshment. For much of human history, these were our natural habitats. You could argue that the construction of modern city life is unnatural in this sense, as the constant busyness and distraction prevents us from getting perspective and moments of reflection. So especially living in New York City, modeling this “in-and-out lifestyle” will help us thrive amidst the weariness of 24/7 connectedness and hustle culture. We’ll leave you with a few practical tips before you wander into the Audubon, which include:

1) Pick a time

If you're planning on regularly visiting Audubon, consider when. Is it before work in the morning? Is it midday if your schedule is flexible? Being intentional with this is key towards developing a rhythm at first.

2) Start small

When it comes to developing contemplative rhythms, success is simply showing up. Nothing more. If you’re making the effort to get away regularly, you’ve already hit the goal. It's also important to remember that habits are formed by starting small. Human nature is to shoot for the stars, saying off-the-bat we're going to visit Audubon 90 minutes every morning, but a more realistic starting goal would be retreating for 30 minutes at least 2-3 times a week. If you get in a rhythm doing that, maybe increase that to an hour for 2-3 times a week. And so forth.

3) Put your phone on silent

We’ve said this everywhere, but consider keeping your smartphone on silent. Why? Because to be connected while you’re attempting to disconnect would be counterproductive. Resist the urge to pull it out and over time, build up your tolerance.

4) Consider your wiring

While the Hillside is a stationery location, there is no “right” way to do this. If you like to be active, consider engaging your body by walking through the Audubon area for a short stroll. Take in all the sights and sounds.

5) Bring a blanket

This is a must, especially for Hillside. Stash it in your backpack and enjoy the experience of laying out in front of the water.

6) Bring a journal

Learning to be present with yourself means taking a regular temperature of your thought-life. That said, fight against the urge to stuff away your thoughts by actively processing them through this form of feeling prayer. How are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? Write it down. Name the emotions coming up - envy, greed, sadness, grief, etc. Like Jesus, our emotions are a place to meet with God.

7) Contemplate scripture

This ancient practice, called Lectio Divina, involves picking a small passage to meditate on. Even if you haven’t read scripture in ages, this could be as small as a Psalm, a Proverb or the words of Jesus in the gospels. Let’s say a verse comes up about humility or loving your neighbor, we then pray for a greater understanding of how to model that in our lives. See what comes to mind. You can pick up a copy of the new Passion Translation here.

8) Practice gratitude

Gratitude is hard for us. Sometimes it feels like we suffer from chronic short-term memory loss, only able to see what we don't have or how our circumstances are less than ideal. And while there might be truth in that, this perspective causes us to miss the precious things of life that are sitting right in front of us each and every day. Take some time to write down prayers of gratitude, even for the smallest of things.

9) Be silent

With a waterfall backdrop, the Audubon area is the ideal environment for silence. Which goes to say, consider the concept of a “silent retreat”. Embrace the sounds around you. The birds. The breeze. And start becoming more aware of yourself.

The opportunity to do all of these things starts today. The Audubon area is a one-of-a-kind oasis right in the middle of Brooklyn. Take advantage of it! This quintessential getaway is waiting to give you a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life.


Get the inside scoop on all the good things happening around New York City each week, including upcoming events, inspiring stories, beautiful getaways and more!

*Your data is covered through our privacy policy.