Pearl River Mart — 65.6 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Pearl River Mart’s Soho store was a New York City institution. Why was? Because like many longstanding and fabulous shops, their landlord demanded a criminal increase in rent and they were forced to leave. Well, they’re back!

Pearl River Mart’s new space isn’t nearly as big as the old location, so there is a smaller selection of the Chinese clothing, kitchen ware, gifts, tchotchkes and the like on offer.  As a result, instead of spending hours poring through the store, you can look at everything in far less time.  While it’s disappointing that Pearl River Mart has had to limit their inventory, it still is a good place to find inexpensive gifts and interesting housewares, and we are happy that it’s back.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Pearl River Mart’s former location was a pretty relaxed place to shop. and we are happy to tell you that the new location is too.  Classical piano played softly in the background during our weekend visit.  The place was busy but not packed; there was some chatter but it wasn’t distracting.  Overall we had a pleasant shopping experience, which isn’t a given in Manhattan.

A sea of calm on otherwise loud and busy Broadway, Pearl River Mart is well worth a visit.  Go!

HOURS

10:00 a.m. to 7:20 p.m. everyday

LOCATION

(at Walker Street), New York, NY 10013

WEBSITE

Pearl River

Delimarie — 70.2 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Delimarie is a low-cost option in that yet unnamed area where Tribeca meets City Hall and various state and federal government buildings.  It follows the standard lunch buffet model: grab a container, pick and choose among the hot and cold options, and pay by the pound.  But Delimarie is so much better than your average deli buffet place.

Deli buffets usually offer the same choices no matter where you go, and everything looks like it was made in the same offsite industrial kitchen.  Not so at Delimarie.  The entrees and vegetables looked fresher and were tastier; the salmon was moist and tasted of salmon, not some packaged sauce.  Like most delis, Delimarie also offers sandwiches to order, and like their buffet options, the sandwich options were more interesting than what you typically find on offer. More importantly, the long lines of customers waiting to order suggests that they are much better than the typical deli sandwich too.

As if that weren’t enough, Delimarie offers something that no other deli has: beignets.  And these are real beignets, made to order, that are almost as good as those you get in New Orleans (we believe there is a connection to that city).  We didn’t try them during our lunch time visit, but we had heard that they are excellent.  We did try the beignets at Delimarie’s West Village sister restaurant, Cafe Marie (a future review), and they did not disappoint.

Finally, Delimarie offers another option that most delis do not–a relatively quiet eating area that seats at least 25 (look for the stairs in the back of the space).  There was background music playing during our visit but the volume was low, and although every seat was taken, the chatter was more than manageable.  It wasn’t the prettiest space, but it served it’s purpose and it was clean.

If you are in the Tribeca/City Hall area and want an inexpensive, quick, and quiet nosh, head on over to Delimarie.  Just remember to save some room for the beignets!

HOURS

Monday through Saturday: 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (but buffet closes at 4:00 p.m., sandwiches at 5:00 p.m.)

Closed Sundays

LOCATION

Street (betw. Broadway and Church Street), New York, NY 10007

WEBSITE

No website

David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center — 67 to 72.5 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We had previously stated that the public space at 575 5th Avenue (L’Oreal building) was our favorite publicly owned private space (POPS), but that was before we visited the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center.   Everything about this POPS is just right.  There is plenty of seating, with at least a dozen tables available to the public.  A ‘wichcraft offers  sandwiches and coffee (but you are not required to purchase from them and may bring in food from outside), and you can purchase tickets for Lincoln Center events.

The Atrium has a number of electrical outlets available throughout the space and free wifi; unsurprisingly, these amenities attract the laptop brigade.  This is almost always a very good indicator that a space is quiet, and it certainly is true here.   Additionally, there are two well-maintained restrooms in the Atrium and additional facilities on the second floor.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We visited the atrium on three occasions.  During our two weekday visits we found the space to be pretty serene, until, that is, a Lincoln Center promo came on a very large screeen.  Fortunately, the promo wasn’t terribly loud and only ran about a minute, but it is played every half hour or so.  The place was packed during a lunch time visit, yet it remained peaceful.  Background music played softly in the background, and while there were one or two noisy people on cell phones,  everyone else was well behaved.

Our weekend visit on a busy Sunday clocked in at 72.5 decibels.  Once again there was music was playing softly in the background (bossa nova) but the bass needed to be lowered a notch. There were fewer laptop workers and more couples or small groups chatting and having a nosh.  Still very pleasant, just a bit louder than during the work week.

The David Rubenstein Atrium is definitely worth visiting if you want a place to relax or to work remotely.  One caution: free performances are held in the space from time to time, but they generally are scheduled in the evening.  You can visit the website listed below and click on the “free weekly performances” link to get the current schedule.

HOURS

Monday through Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

LOCATION

reet (betw. Broadway and Columbus Avenue), New York, NY 11023

WEBSITE

David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center