Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park — 71.6 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park is located at the very southern tip of Manhattan.  Here you can enjoy absolutely beautiful, unobstructed views of the harbor and a nice side view of the Statue of Liberty.  It’s a fairly busy area as there are lots of people walking around.  Despite that, you won’t hear many voices, just the occasional walker chatting too loudly into his or her phone.

But there was a constant background noise during our visit that was too loud to be ignored.  We weren’t sure about its source, but it sounded like a helicopter or large boat engine.  We looked around to see if there was a helicopter hovering in the background, but we didn’t see one.  Whatever the source, the noise was present the entire time we were in the park, and it is the reason the park could not get our best rating.  Well, that and the traffic noise.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Even though the Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park wasn’t exactly peaceful, it is still worth visiting.  We tried to treat the mystery noise as white noise, focusing instead on the stunning views.   While not foolproof, it helped.  Come here to experience a very attractive, open public space in Manhattan and enjoy the water views.   Bring your lunch when the weather is nice.  Clean public bathrooms are located in the pavillion off of Battery Park City Esplanade, next to Gigino at Wagner Park.

Note: The Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park is a dog-free park.

HOURS

Open 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. daily

Public restrooms are open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (May 1 – October 31) and 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (November 1-April 30)

LOCATION

ace (next to the Museum of Jewish Heritage ), New York, NY 10280

WEBSITE

Wagner Park

180 Maiden Lane – 65.7 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

180 Maiden Lane’s newly renovated lobby is a privately owned public space (POPS) offering plenty of seating and amenities for the public.  The POPS has only been available from mid-summer 2016 because an extensive renovation was required after Superstorm Sandy.  A couple of years later and the lobby has finally been opened.  It is a clean, bright, and attractive space, but despite an otherwise excellent reading of 65.7 decibels, the soundscape at 180 Maiden Lane could be better.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

There is a lot of seating inside the public lobby, and the design of the space is mostly thoughful.  It’s clear that attempts were made to introduce softer objects and materials–plants, trees, and a very comfortable and cushy astroturf in one seating area–that could mitigate the sound amplification caused by all of the hard surfaces, but there is a lot of glass and stone and the space felt live.  The only obvious and loud sound came from the security officers’ walkie-talkies which were set on loud.  Every screech, every beep, every word bounced around the space, leaving us to wonder just how loud it would get if the place was packed (which, we acknowledge, may never happen).

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Since seating is provided throughout the main floor lobby, there are some smaller seating areas that will likely be more manageable than others.  It felt quieter, for example, on the east side, which bordered South Street.  That said, there was a constant mechanical hum throughout the lobby–we think was coming from the escalator leading to the second level, as the sound got louder as we walked towards it.  The hum wasn’t awful but it was constant; it sounded like white noise.

The lobby has one cafe (it was closed during our visit) that offers the usual deli staples of sandwiches, coffee, bottled drinks, etc., but you can bring your own food and drink and enjoy the space.   It was not crowded during our visit, and given how live the space was with a small group of people about, we suspect it could be significantly louder if fully occupied.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

180 Maiden Lane provides two public bathrooms that are clean and disabled accessible.   And it also offers one amenity that no other POPS offers: free charging stations for public use.  Both bathrooms and the charging stations can be found near the Pine Street entrance.

If you are wandering around the Seaport area and want to grab a quick lunch from one of the food trucks in the area, head on over to 180 Maiden Lane to enjoy your nosh, rest your feet, and charge your devices.

HOURS

Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

LOCATION

180 Maiden Lane (betw. South and Front Streets), New York, NY 10038

WEBSITE

180 Maiden Lane