Slow Down in a City That Wants You to Speed Up

Slow Nature is the idea of cultivating small moments of nature observation in daily life.

Like other Slow movements (Slow Food, Slow Cities, Slow Travel, etc), the focus here is on slowing down, savoring the moment, and pursuing a more balanced life.

But to notice nature in NYC or another city, you literally have to walk slowly. You have to pause while others may pass you by.

This is not easy. This is a city of relentless energy. New Yorkers are strivers, not slackers.

An inviting path through Brooklyn Bridge Park

As New Yorkers, we hike all the time – though we think of it as walking quickly from point A to point B.  The good news is we have a daily opportunity to change our routes slightly, to slow down and notice what is in front of us.

Ways to Slow Down

Become a connoisseur of the side street, the pocket park, and the hidden green oasis.

Create your own map of green spaces. Visit a favorite this week, no matter what the weather.

Vahram Muratyan, “Mapping Manhattan: A Love (And Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers” (©Becky Cooper courtesy Abrams Image)

Walk as slowly as a tourist in Times Square.

Take out your earbuds.

Put down your phone or other devices.

Open up your senses. This may be challenging in a city that is screaming at you.

2016-05-12 12.45.41
Illustration from “The Street Trees of New York” by Trudy Smoke

Consider going solo. It may be easier to concentrate.

Focus on the non-human for a short amount of time.

Trees, birds, plants, rocks, clouds in the sky can be your objects of focused attention.

Try to describe what you see to yourself.

Illustration from William Power’s New Slow City

Try not to think about your job, your relationship, or your rent during these precious moments.

Discover what can be solved by walking.

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Illustration from Keri Smith’s The Wander Society

Solvitur ambulando, translated from Latin as “It is solved by walking.


Add yours →

  1. Lovely! I’m not in NY but this is advice I could use in my daily life too 🙂


  2. Wise words for all of us, no matter where we live … 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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