Maman — 74.1 to 74.8 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Maman is a French-American bakery/coffee shop/cafe located on Centre Street in Nolita.  There are sister locations downtown and in Greenpoint, a couple of which have more extensive menus; the Centre Street location has sweet and savory breakfast items, pastries, tarts, and a nice selection of lunch offerings (salads, sandwiches, and quiche).

On our first visit to Maman, we found the space to be mostly calm.  There was music playing in the front of the space by the kitchen, but that area is divided off from the back seating area by a  glass partition.  Unfinished wood floors and some plants help to keep the space from being too live.  Chatty friends sat near us as we lingered over coffee, but they weren’t too distracting.  There was, however, an industrial vent that ran constantly throughout our visit.  While it was not loud, it did provide a low background hum during the whole of our visit.   It wasn’t terrible, and in an odd way it sort of operated like white noise, but it’s something to note if you find low rumbling noises to be distracting or uncomfortable.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We arrived for our second visit slightly after 2:00 p.m.; the meter clocked in slightly higher than the first visit, at 74.8 decibels.  Once again we found the space to be very comfortable, despite it being noticeably more crowded than our first visit.  About half of the seats were taken when we arrived, then a couple got up and left.  They  were replaced by a group of six co-workers who sat down at the large communal table where we were seated and began discussing a work project.  Nearby, two friends chatted and laughed their way through lunch.  This time, however, the vent noise wasn’t as noticeable.  Perhaps it is more pronounced in the colder months?  We aren’t sure, and, for the most part, it really doesn’t matter.  As with our first visit, and despite the chatty couple and the work party, the space was absolutely comfortable.

Overall, we enjoyed our visits to Maman.  The space would have been even nicer if the music volume were a little lower, but our visits on the whole were pleasant.

Maman offers very good coffee and a fairly extensive selection of sweet and savory treats in an attractive space, which is hard to find in this neighborhood.  Definitely worth a visit.

HOURS

Monday through Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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

LOCATION

Street (betw. Grand and Broome Streets), New York, NY 10013

WEBSITE

Maman

Idlewild Books — 65.6 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Idlewild Books is a travel bookstore and langauge school which was located on 12 W. 19th Street but recently moved to 7th Avenue in the West Village.  They were in the process of unpacking some of the boxes and arranging the space when we visited, but they were open for business and customers were streaming in.  As with their older location, books are arranged by continent and country, with each section offering guidebooks, fiction, and nonfiction.  They also sell gift items (a selection of maps and cards), and offer language classes (all levels) on site in French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The decibel level during our visit registered a very quiet 65.6 decibels even with several customers browsing and chatting.  Because language classes will now be held in dedicated classrooms in the back of the space, visiting while class is in session should be fairly quiet.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

If you are looking for books about a specific country or region, or just want to get inspiration for your next vacation, Idlewild Books is not to be missed.

HOURS

Monday through Thursday: 12:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

LOCATION

WEBSITE

Idlewild Books

Filicori Zecchini (7th Avenue) — 72.4 decibels CLOSED

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

What a lucky find!  We were wandering around the upper reaches of Chelsea, jonesing for a coffee, and there it was–Filicori Zecchini, one of three New York locations of an Italian coffee chain of the same name.  As you enter you will see a long counter where you can order your coffee and drool over the beautiful treats on display below.  We showed restraint and only purchased coffee, but it required a heroic exercise of will power.

Armed with our choice of caffeine, we looked for an empty spot.  There were plenty of places to sit and linger, but most were taken.  We found a spot and settled in.  The coffee was very good and was accompanied by a little wrapped rectangle of chocolate.  Most importantly, we were able to collect our thoughts as we enjoyed a perfectly made cortado because the space was fairly quiet despite being mostly full.

It should come as no surprise that the laptop brigade present in spades–their presence is almost always an excellent sign, as they seek silence and respect it.  We did find the background music to be just a hair louder than we would prefer, but the space was still comfortable because the music, which featured jazz and bossa nova, was calming.  It was, in fact, perfect coffee house music that, volume aside, added to the atmosphere and comfortability of the place.  And unlike some coffee shops in Manhattan, a restroom is available for customers.  Filicori Zecchini is definitely worth checking out.

HOURS

Monday through Saturday: 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sunday: 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

LOCATION

(at the corner of 21st Street), New York, NY 11011

WEBSITE

Filicori Zecchini NY