Joe Jr. Restaurant — 76.4 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The decibel reading was a surprising 76.4 for our visit to Joe Jr.  Surprising because the reading was higher than we would have guessed, but Joe Jr. Restaurant is a small space with lots of hard surfaces and plenty of chatter (including a few patrons who appeared to be hard of hearing).  The reading also reflects the hum of the grill and the sounds of dishes being stacked and binned–the kitchen is open, so you will see–and hear–your meal being made.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Every once in a while a space will read over 75 decibels yet will be tolerable.  Joe Jr. Restaurant is one of those places.  And the place was fairly crowded during our lunch time visit, so an off-hours visit should be quieter.

Joe Jr. Restaurant is well worth the visit if you are looking for very good diner fare.  Eater NY rated its burger the best no-frills burger in the city.  We concur, adding that the fries were pretty good, too, and the service was friendly and efficient.   If you want to experience what’s left of old New York City, Joe Jr. shouldn’t be missed.

HOURS

Open 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day (may vary on holidays)

LOCATION

167 3rd Avenue (at the corner of 16th Street), NY, NY 10003

WEBSITE

Joe Jr. Restaurant menu

Dough — 75 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We found ourselves on 19th Street because we had hoped to stop by Idlewild Books.  But when we approached Idlewild’s (former) location, we saw a sign saying that they had moved to the village.  Disappointed, we continued a few steps, saw Dough, and decided to drown our sorrow in a freshly made doughnut.

As you enter Dough, you will see a display counter loaded with every donut permutation you could wish for.  Give yourself time to check out all of the options.

 

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Dough provides a fair amount of seating for those who wish to eat their donuts in situ.  There is one long communal table with ten chairs in the middle of the space; a few stools are available at the front window.  Dough was comfortable but louder than it should during our visit because it was hijacked by someone who decided to use it as her office.  She sat at the communal table and proceeded to have a loud conversation with a client.  It was clear that Dough wasn’t a typical remote worker haunt, so this behavior is probably aberrational and the space is likely fairly pleasant most of the time.

And the reason for stopping by Dough are the doughnuts, of course.  Well, Dough succeeds here–the doughnuts are lovely, and the coffee is nice, too.  The space is a bit live, which is why one loud patron was able to raise the decibel level three or more points on her own, but we were comfortable enough during our visit.  If you are in the Union Square area, Dough is worth a visit.

HOURS

Monday through Thursday: 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Friday: 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Saturday: 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Sunday: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

LOCATION

Street (betw. 5th and 6th Avenues), New York, NY 1011

WEBSITE

Dough Doughnuts

 

Cafe Prague — 77.2 decibels CLOSED

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Our visit at Cafe Prague was more tolerable than the rating might suggest.  The space was fine until someone sat next to us who obviously had untreated hearing loss.  He had a very animated conversation with his guest until he turned his attention to his iPhone.  Before his arrival and during his obsession with his phone, the space was really comfortable.  That said, the basketball game playing on a big flat screen tv to didn’t help, but at least the volume wasn’t too loud, which was remarkable under the circumstances (big playoff game).

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

That aside, Cafe Prague is a nice inexpensive place near Union Square for a nosh.  We enjoyed a chicken schnitzel and some very tasty potato salad that accompanied it (the meal also came with lettuce and sliced cucmber and tomatoes).  We must caution that it’s not a place for anyone watching their weight.  As they proudly announce on their website, Cafe Prague is a place “where calories do not count and time slows down.”  And both statements are true, as you will not feel rushed as you dine on your plate of decidedly not diet food.

Cafe Prague gets very good ratings at Yelp and Google, and they are deserved.  The place feels like it’s been around for a while. It’s best described as a mix of an old country restaurant meets New York City deli.  The food looks and tastes fresh and seating is comfortable.  We definitely recommend a visit if you are in the Union Square area.

HOURS

Monday: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday through Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

LOCATION

Street (betw. 5th and 6th Avenues, much closer to 5th), New York, NY 10011

WEBSITE

Cafw Prague

 

Craft Bar — 73.6 decibels CLOSED

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We sat at the bar at Craft Bar for a quick late lunch.  The noise level during our visit was fine, mostly due to the high ceilings, but the space felt very live.  We weren’t surprised, because with the exception of the wooden floors, every surface was hard.  As usual, unnecessary background music added a layer of sound.  Even if the music had been lowered or turned off the space still would have been pingy and live, but it would have been more tolerable.  And then there was a periodic element of noise that really got our attention: the deep rumbling of the subway racing beneath our feet.  The sound and vibration could not be ignored no matter how fleeting.  We have been in spaces where you can hear and feel the subway passing below, but this was louder than we’ve experienced before.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Our nosh at the bar was perfectly tolerable, but when we stopped by the main dining room to see what it was like, we  found it to be very noticeably louder.  Given that the dining room was half empty at the time, we believe it would be uncomfortably loud when packed.  We  recommend that you avoid the dining room unless it’s fairly empty and eat at the bar instead.  The bar service was first rate.

HOURS

Monday through Wednesday: 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Thursday and Friday: 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

LOCATION

(betw. 19th and 20th Streets), New York, NY 10003

WEBSITE

Craftbar

 

Lion Brand Yarn — 70.8 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

This yarn store is owned and operated by Lion Brand Yarn and only their yarns are available for purchase (for higher end yarns go to Purl Soho).  Still, it is one of the largest and most comfortable yarn stores in the city.  The store is fairly roomy and nicely laid out, and there is a large table in the back where customers can knit or crochet and get free guidance from the very friendly staff.   Lessons are offered there or on the second floor.  If a lesson is being taught at the back table, or there is a table full of knitters, the sound level will reflect that.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

It can be library quiet during a weekday, but it was 70.8 decibels when we visited on a busy Sunday due to background music, a table full of knitters receiving informal instruction from an exuberant instructor, and lots of chatter.  Though noisier than usual, it was still pleasant.

A restroom is available for customers.

HOURS

Monday through Wednesday: 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Saturday: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

LOCATION

34 W. 15th Street (betw. 5th and 6th Avenues), New York, NY 10011

WEBSITE

Lion Brand Yarn Studio