Trestle on Tenth — 75.3 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Trestle on Tenth offers Swiss cuisine in the upper reaches of Chelsea.  We visited Trestle on a Saturday for brunch.  On entering we noticed that the music was a bit louder than necessary, but as the place filled up–and just about every seat was taken by the time we left–the volume was either lowered or it assumed its rightful place in the background. Whatever the reason, the music level was fine after the first few minutes.

An unsealed brick wall and unfinished wood floor may have mitigated the sound reflection otherwise caused by the large expanse of glass at the front of the space.  We were unsure whether the slatted wood ceiling also helped.  One thing was clear–the space didn’t feel live even though there were few elements to absorb sound.  In fact, we  found the soundscape to be at least tolerable and sometimes approaching comfortable.

Overall we were happy with the sound level at Trestle onf Tenth.  While it wasn’t quiet, no one should expect quiet at a popular restaurant during a usually busy time.  In fact, for a fully packed spot at brunch, we were very happy with our visit.  It didn’t hurt that Trestle offers really tasty, filing breakfast dishes.  We recommend a visit.

HOURS

Sunday and Monday: 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Tuesday through Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

LOCATION

(at the corner of 24th Street), New York, NY 10001

WEBSITE

Trestle on Tenth

 

Good Stuff Diner – 65.4 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

By Jeanine Botta

On a recent morning, I’d been running errands in Manhattan and decided to try the Good Stuff Diner on West 14th Street before heading home to Brooklyn.  I love diners and was drawn to the place’s gleaming retro design and warm tones.  A manager greeted me at the door and accommodated my request for a booth, which doesn’t always happen with solo diners.  I sat in the back among a mix of other solo diners, pairs, and groups.  Two men sat alone at separate tables eating breakfast and reading newspapers, then said goodbye to each other when one of them left.

It was just after 10:00 a.m. when I arrived, so it was somewhere between the end of the breakfast rush and the start of the lunch rush; around half of the tables were occupied in each dining area. I ordered eggs with toast and home fried potatoes, orange juice, and coffee.  All were good, and the service was fast and friendly, but not rushed.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

There was no music playing in the back section of the diner while I was there.  The average sound level  was only 65.4, but the ambience wasn’t hushed.  The predominant sound was that of lively conversation.  It was only when I walked to the front of the diner as I was leaving that I heard music, but the music was playing softly in the background and didn’t distract.

The Good Stuff Diner is recommended to tourists and other travelers, as evidenced by online reviews.  But on this weekday morning I could tell by nearby conversations that many of the diners were locals, some were regulars, and most were New Yorkers, which says good things about the place.  Given the sound level when the restaurant was just over halfway occupied, I wouldn’t hesitate to schedule a meeting or meet up with friends during a busier time.  It was good to find an aesthetically appealing, affordable, friendly restaurant with a robust menu in a part of the city where I often find myself wishing for exactly this kind of eatery.

HOURS

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week

LOCATION

109 West 14th Street (near 6th Avenue), New York, NY 10011

WEBSITE

Good Stuff Diner

Almondine Bakery — 73.1 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We believe that Almondine makes the best baguette in the city, so when we were in Dumbo recently we had to stop by and pick up a couple for later.   And since we were there, we stayed for a quick lunch.

Almondine offers a nice selection of savory items–sandwiches, soups, and quiche.  It also has lovely croissants, cakes and tarts, and the best fruit danish in town.  Really, just order the danish (it’s half-apricot, half-pear, and totally fabulous).  On the weekends raspberry beignets are available.  If you are there when they are freshly made the scent of raspberries washes over the entire space, and you’ll agree that the it’s worth a trip to Dumbo for the beignets alone.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Almondine’s decor sports a lot of glass, metal, and brick,  and yet the small space is mostly comfortable. In fact, the reading was higher than we expected but was probably due to two cranky toddlers who were subject, along with the rest of us, to an endless parental rant. The reason the space was comfortable was that there was no music playing.  Even a live space can be comfortable if there is no music, and Almondine proves it.  As a result, we can easily recommend you stop in for a nosh at any time.

So definitely stop by Almondine if you are in Dumbo.  Have a coffee and a quiche, and don’t forget to grab a baguette or two (and a fruit danish) on the way out the door.  You’ll thank us.

HOURS

Monday through Saturday: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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

LOCATION

Street (betw. Main and Dock Streets), Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

WEBSITE

Almondine Bakery.

Tekoa — 66.6 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Tekoa is a lovely coffee shop in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn.  It offers more sweet and savory offerings than most, making it a sort of marriage between a coffee shop and a cafe.  And it’s a happy marriage, certainly a peaceful one.  We visited on a Thursday afternoon and found the place to be fairly serene.  About half the tables were taken, but most of the customers were very quiet–only one couple was chatting, while the others wiled away on their laptops.  As a result, the soundscape was absolutely perfect.

A small shelf at the front window has three stools for people watchers, and there is a dining area with eight tables for two or four in the back.  The space is painted a bright white, but it’s not blinding.  Most importantly, Tekoa serves as an example to places that insist on playing music, as they do it absolutely right.  The music was in the background and the sound was balanced–it wasn’t trebly nor did it have throbbing bass.  Even if a song featured a vocalist with a high-pitched voice, the sound was never uncomfortable or screechy.  A good sound system makes a huge difference.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

And playing well-balanced, low volume music was key, particularly since the space was filled with mostly hard surfaces, including a tin ceiling.  The combination of soft music and little to no conversation resulted in a really serene experience.  The coffee is very good, and though we didn’t try any of the sweet and savory items on offer, they looked delicious.  We will try them next time, because there will be a next time.

Tekoa serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  We highly recommend it.

HOURS

Monday through Wednesday: 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Thursday and Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. | 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. | 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Kitchen opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 10:00 p.m.

LOCATION

Street (at Verandah Place), Brooklyn, NY 11201

WEBSITE

Tekoa

The Red Flame Diner — 70.9 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Looking for a no-nonsense place in midtown for a quick meal in relatively peaceful surroundings? Look no further than The Red Flame Diner on W. 44th Street, near 6th Avenue.  The Red Flame Diner has plenty of booths for two or four and a small counter with stools near the back.  This is not haute cuisine–the food is straight forward diner classics done right.  More importantly, you can eat and have a conversation with your guests–and most people were chatting–with ease.  No straining, no screaming.

The Red Flame will have you in and out in short order.  But despite the bustle–and the place was nearly filled to capacity during our Saturday brunch time visit–it’s comfortable.  The only black mark was background music, but the volume was low enough so it could be ignored.  That said, why have it at all?  No one was listening to it and it added an unnecessary layer of sound.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Given that almost every seat was filled, we were pleased with the noise level during our visit.  It’s unlikely that it would be much louder if the few empty seats were filled, so we have no reservations in recommending the Red Flame Diner.  If the music were turned off or lowered, we would give this place our highest mark.  Still, second place isn’t bad at all.

HOURS

Open 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day

LOCATION

67 W. 44th Street (betw. 5th and 6th Avenues), New York, NY 10036

WEBSITE

The Red Flame Diner

Everyman Espresso (Soho) — 69.3 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The Canal Street location of Everyman Espresso is smaller than the East Village location.  Only a couple of chairs at two small tables and a few benches are available for seating, but they were more than enough to accommodate all who entered on a Thursday evening.

LIke the East Village location, the espresso machine in this location of Everyman Espresso was one of the quietest we’ve experienced.  We assume that Everyman uses special noise-sensitive machines, or maybe it’s because the espresso maker was situated so that the noise making elements face away from the seating area (similar to the East Village location).  Whatever the reason, it is appreciated, particularly since many of the surfaces are hard and more than capable of bouncing the sound around the small space.  Wood slats on the ceiling may have helped deflect sound, but other than a couple of mats on the floor (probably there temporarily to sop up rain), there were no textiles or softer materials to absorb sound.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We liked this location as much as the East Village spot, but note that since it is smaller it doesn’t have a restroom (the East Village location does).  That aside, the Canal Street location of Everyman Espresso is a nice little niche of serenity near chaotic Canal Street.  It’s worth a visit.

HOURS

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

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

Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

LOCATION

(betw. Canal and Grand Streets, closer to Canal), New York, NY 10013

WEBSITE

Everyman Espresso (Soho)

Annam Brahma – 63.4 to 63.6 decibels

Photo credit: Jeanine Botta

By Jeanine Botta

I discovered Annam Brahma years ago while walking through Queens, searching for a cold drink on a hot day.  I’ve returned dozens of times since, alone, with family, and with friends, and I’ve ordered food for large and small parties from the catering menu.  Others find the restaurant through reviews or word of mouth or in vegetarian restaurant guides.  One of four restaurants in Queens run by students of the late Sri Chinmoy, an artist, poet, and spiritual teacher who encouraged vegetarian diet, meditation, and fitness, Annam Brahma attracts diners from all over the world.

On a recent visit, I placed an order of soup, salad, and appetizers for a party of eight from the catering menu and also ordered a small meal. My meal began with a cup of ginger and honey tea selected from a drink menu, followed by a cup of dal, a savory lentil soup that is very popular.  I also ordered a samosa, a potato filled pastry, and bhajiia, a lightly spiced fritter, both served with chutney.

Annam Brahma serves vegetarian and vegan Indian cuisine, but it also features vegetarian Chinese, Italian, and American options on certain days.  The restaurant has long featured an international smorgasbord on Sundays, but at the time of this writing the website states that the Sunday smorgasbord is not available. The menu includes Indian breads, desserts, coffees and teas, as well as omelettes, sandwiches, and a delicious selection of vegetarian burgers.

Annam Brahma is quiet enough to lose oneself in a book in a cozy corner or to chat with companions easily without straining to hear or be heard. There is subtle instrumental music playing in the background, but it is never loud or distracting. The dining room is decorated with Sri Chinmoy’s paintings and other artwork (greeting cards featuring Chinmoy’s art, displayed along one wall, are available for purchase). The space is soothing and visually appealing, open and airy with a distinct rustic charm.

To reach Annam Brahma by subway, take the Jamaica-bound F train to Parsons Boulevard, walk up the hill along the two-lane boulevard, turn right on 85th Avenue, and walk five blocks to 164th Street.  Alternatively, you can take the 65 bus from the Parsons Boulevard F train station, but it might be worth skipping the wait for a bus and walking.  If traveling by car, Annam Brahma is four blocks east of the Grand Central Parkway, and street parking is available. The surrounding Jamaica Hills neighborhood is safe, friendly, and walkable.

Annam Brahma is cash only.

HOURS

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday through Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

LOCATION

Street (near 85th Avenue), Jamaica, Queens, NY 11432

WEBSITE

Annam Brahma

Archestratus Books + Foods — 70.7 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Archestratus Books + Foods is a very calm space, even with unnecessary music playing in the background. It should be calm, as it is a cafe burrowed into the back of a bookstore.  There is a short menu offering a few savory and sweet treats during the day, and a selection of coffees and teas.  Service is friendly and relaxed.

Archestratus Books + Foods offers a well-liked dinner on Thursday nights.  We’ve never been, but given the rave dinner reviews on Yelp and other rating sites, it’s on our short list to try for this year.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The bookstore portion of the space features books on food and cooking–it’s easy to get lost in the space for hours.  There is also a small selection of interesting gift items on offer.  Overall the entire space is quiet and comfortable.

There were only a couple of people sharing the cafe when we visited, so we can’t say conclusively that the space would be comfortable when full.  Still, the cafe soundscape should be fine even when crowded, as it only seats 12.

Archestratus Books + Foods is highly recommended.

HOURS

Monday and Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday through Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Dinner is available Thursday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

LOCATION

Street (betw. Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street), Brooklyn, NY 11222

WEBSITE

Archestratus Books + Foods