For a little peace and quiet (as in no runners, cyclists or singing buskers), visit this 6-acre, formal garden – one of the park's official quiet zones. And it's beautiful to boot. Its three sections are designed in French, English and Italian styles, each with its own fountain. It's bursting with crabapple trees, meandering boxwood and, in spring, a riot of flowers. Access from Fifth Ave is through a magnificent 1894 iron gate that once fronted the Vanderbilt mansion.
Otherwise, you can catch maximum calm (and max bird life) in all areas of the park just after dawn.