Sir Winston Churchill Square is a little pocket of serenity in the sea of insanity that is the conflux of 6th Avenue and Carmine and Bleecker Streets. The square is directly across from the much larger, and much louder, Father Demo Square, which is always crowded on mild days and overwhelmed by small children (and their minders) who flock to its fountain in the summer. With the commotion going across the street, it is easy to miss Winston Churchill Square entirely, which explains why it is generally quiet(ish) and calm.
That said, our sound meter registered at 73.5 decibels during our visit to the square. At first that seemed anomalous, because we have been to the square a number of times and it was always calmer. But then we recalled that during the reading period a couple of purposely loud motorcycles passed by, increasing the overall reading by at least two or three points. [Aside: Why do people like to make that much noise and why do cities tolerate them?]
In any event, the immediate space of the square is lovely but street noise does intrude. If the city were to ban the toys of the desperately insecure (look at me!), the square would be almost perfect. Almost perfect because outdoor spaces are always vulnerable to the sounds and smells of the city. For example, on the August afternoon that we took our decibel reading there was the occasional whiff of eau d’New York City (stale urine). It wasn’t overpowering or constant, just noticeable with the intermittent breeze.
Winston Churchill Square is heavily shaded by mature trees, which cools the space down by about ten degrees–a very good thing on hot and humid days. But be sure to keep an eye out for the bench under the pigeons’ toilet (no worries, it’s easy to spot).
If you are in the West Village near Bleecker Street and 6th Avenue on a muggy summer afternoon, grab a treat from one of the nearby ice cream shops, walk past Father Demo Square, and head on over to Winston Churchill Square to enjoy the (relative) serenity.
Dawn (generally 7:00-7:30 a.m.) to dusk
1 Downing Street (where Downing, Bleecker, and 6th Avenue meet), NY, NY 10014