Tucked away in the middle of Brooklyn is the magical meadow of Nethermead. With a name that sounds like it’s straight out of a Disney movie, it is one of the hidden treasures of Prospect Park. As perhaps the only place in Brooklyn where you literally can’t see or hear the city, Nethermead is the quintessential getaway for a city-dweller. Far less trafficked than Long Meadow at the northern part of Prospect Park, Nethermead invites us into true immersion of nature. While Nethermead is a four-season getaway (weather permitting), it is absolutely delightful when the leaves change in the fall. The autumn colors create quite the serene landscape. In terms of access, it’s a 10 minute walk from the Prospect Park subway station, which has the B, S and Q lines. This means you could be in Nethermead within 20 minutes from Downtown Brooklyn from Dekalb Avenue or the Barclays Center station. But since Brooklyn and Prospect Park generally aren't as accessible from the subway like Manhattan and Central Park, we would consider investing in an electric scooter or e-bike. It represents a small cost towards regularly frequenting a contemplative paradise like Nethermead, especially if you don’t live directly off the B, S and Q lines. This means that whether you live in Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens or Park Slope, you’ll be in Nethermead within 20 minutes. We would recommend CitiBike, but we all know what it’s like to chase down the last one at a nearby station. By the time you get there, 3 minutes later, it’s gone. You may not be opposed to using a regular CitiBike, but you might be working up a sweat by the time you park the bike and arrive at Nethermead. Which goes to say, taking control of your own destiny with a personal bike or electric scooter is the way to go. With that in mind, let’s get into some of the beautiful features that Nethermead has to offer.


The most obvious feature of Nethermead is the expansive meadow. The perfect place to bring a blanket, lay out and simply listen to the sounds of nature. At certain parts of the week, you may be only one of a few people present in the meadow. From 6am to 9am every morning, off-leash dog hours are permitted in Prospect Park, so keep that in mind as you plan your contemplative retreats into Nethermead. But generally speaking, the experience of sitting in the meadow with little noise around you sparks feelings of wonder that a place like this actually exists in New York City.



Towards the east end of Nethermead, you can’t help but notice the exotic white oak trees towering over you. Providing shade from the rolling meadow, you’ll often find folks retreating away, sitting against the trunks of the trees. The sprawling branches occupy the air space, intermingling with one another in beautiful cohesion. The trees only add to the aura of Nethermead, providing a colorful accent to the green pastures of the rolling meadows. As you sit against the trunk and journal (or read), take a moment to look up. It’s a sight to see.



As you’ll discover, Nethermead stands in contrast to the often-congested northern end of the park. It’s one of the reasons we’ve chosen to highlight it as one of our NYC getaways. Due to its location mid-park, it provides you with a contemplative reprieve from the hustle of the city. In a remarkable report from Yale University, we learn, “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. The goal of visiting Nethermead then, would be to start developing a lifestyle of reflection and contemplation. Long before these scientific discoveries were made, we see Jesus adopting these same rhythms in ancient Israel, often retreating into nature. This would later be coined silence and solitude, just one of the compelling rhythms we see built into his way of life. For Jesus, what happened in the wilderness became the fuel for him to go back out and be equipped to engage the culture around him. You may agree that this has never been more relevant than in modern-day times. 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 magical meadows of Nethermead, which include:

1) Pick a time

Scheduling time to get away is essential. The hectic nature of life in New York City increases the need for intentionality. So consider where you will regularly visit Nethermead and when it's practical do that. Is it before work in the morning? Is it midday during lunch?

2) Start small & build

When it comes to developing contemplative rhythms, success simply equals to showing up. Nothing more. If you’re making the effort to get away regularly, you’ve already hit the goal. But remember, habits are formed by starting small. Rather than saying we’re going to visit Nethermead for 90 minutes every morning, try 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 in Nethermead 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 all of the spots we’ve featured in Nethermead are stationery, there is no “right” way to do this. If you like to be active, consider engaging your body by walking through Nethermead for a short stroll. Take in all the sights and sounds.

5) Bring a blanket

This is definitely a must, especially if you regularly visit Nethermead. Stash it in your backpack and enjoy the experience of laying out under the white oaks or rolling meadow.

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

Since the city can’t be seen or heard, Nethermead 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.

We’ll leave you with this: start today. Nethermead is an oasis in the middle of Brooklyn, take advantage of it. You can literally be there later today or tomorrow. This quintessential getaway is waiting to give you a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life.


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