Four & Twenty Blackbirds — 72.3 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Four & Twenty Blackbirds is a well-regarded pie shop located in Gowanus, Brooklyn.  It offers whole pies, pies by the slice, cakes, and beverages.  We’ve read about their pies and have wanted to try them for some time, so we stopped by for a slice. We tried the Black Bottom Oat.  It was pretty good, not great, but obviously freshly made and satisfying.

We noticed on entering that most of the customers were by themselves, staring intently at their laptops. That many wore earbuds was a not-so-subtle warning about the noise level.  Namely, that there was unnecessary music playing.  Still, the music wasn’t uncomfortably loud.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

There was only one table of two engaging in conversation. They stood out since they were the only talkers, though there was another customer who spent the entirety of her visit with her phone glued to her ear, laughing out loud in random bursts.  She was jarring.  We have a difficult time understanding people who treat a public space like it’s their living room, but it seems to be happening with greater frequency. One frustrating thing is that the people who chat on phones in public spaces almost invariably are louder than people engaging in conversation in the flesh. It’s not the fault of the place, of course.  Just an observation that the space attracts all sorts.

One other soound stood out during our visit to Four & Twenty Blackbirds–the bean grinder used to make each espresso-based drink.  This grinder was particularly annoying, and it added a  high-pitched whine to the soundscape.  That said, we found the overall noise level to be mostly tolerable, but If you are coming here to work, dont forget your earbuds.

HOURS

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

Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

LOCATION

Avenue (at the corner of 8th Street), Brooklyn, NY 11215

WEBSITE

Four & Twenty Blackbirds

Ninth Street Espresso (Gowanus) — 64.1 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The Gowanus location of Ninth Street Espresso is located In the same space as Threes Brewing, a bar and brewery with food by The Meat Hook. Threes Brewing takes up the ground floor.  It’s a very large, very open, and very loud space–we wouldn’t dream of going there for a beer on a busy night, as we’ve walked by and heard the noise level. But Ninth Street Espresso is open during the day and occupies a separate space near the front of the building. When you walk in, turn to your right and climb the small stairway.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

At the top of the stairs you will see the service counter.  Ninth Street Espresso doesn’t have a long menu. Rathe, it lists just four coffee options: hot coffee, cold coffee, espresso, and espresso with milk. Tell them what you like–we are partial to cortados–and they’ll get you the right combination of espresso and milk.

Along with really good coffee, there are plenty of places to sit. There’s a small space near the counter with a couple of small tables and a sunny window. Walk through to the back and there’s a roomy space with six tables, plenty of chairs, and an unused upright piano with a sign reading “Please do not touch piano,” which was fine by us.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

There was music playing in the background throughout our visit. And if you were a Dylan fan, it would have been your lucky day. The volume was a hair louder than we would have liked, but as the reading shows the overall noise level was perfectly fine.  We think Ninth Street Espresso offers excellent coffee in a very comfortable space and recommend it.

HOURS

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

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

LOCATION

Street (betw. 3rd and 4th Avenue), Brooklyn, NY 11217

WEBSITE

Ninth Street Espresso

Taheni Mediterranean Grill — 71.4 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Taheni Mediterranean Grill is a Palestinian restaurant located at the corner of 4th Avenue and Union Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn. It’s proof that a decibel reading, standing alone, can be misleading. Why? Because 71.4 decibels is a very respectable reading, but the space was not as comfortable as the reading might suggest.

Taheni had only been open for a short time when we paid a visit, and it wasn’t very crowded at lunch. Most of our fellow diners were eating by themselves, with the exception of one table of three young men. That table seemed loud because they were the only ones engaged in animated conversation (and, frankly, they were loud).

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

There’s a drop ceiling in the dining space which could help to abate some noise, but the open kitchen and long expanses of glass make the place irredeemably live. Add in the tiled floor, tiled counter area, and metal chairs, and it’s as if someone purposefully design the space to be loud. The location didn’t help, as the corner of Union and 4th Avenue is heavily trafficked, and there was active construction going on across the street which was probably the source of a mechanical hum that we heard during our entire visit.

In addition, there was music playing in the background, but the volume wasn’t too loud. The low music volume and the absence of conversation once the one table of three left, is the reason the reading was fairly low. Overall, the soundscape wasn’t loud or chaotic, but it wasn’t calm or relaxed either.  At best, it was tolerable.

It seemed obvious to us that at a busy time the space will be too loud. The space is exceptionally live–there is too much glass and nothing to absorb or diffuse sound.  It’s a shame, really, as the food was tasty and the staff were friendly.  We don’t recommend that you avoid Taheni.  Rather, we suggest that you visit at lunch time or a slow evening or order food to go.

HOURS

Monday through Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

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

Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

LOCATION

Avenue (at the corner of Union Street), Brooklyn, NY 11215

WEBSITE

Taheni Mediterranean Grill

Ninth Street Espresso (Gowanus) — 64.1 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The Gowanus location of Ninth Street Espresso is located In the same space as Threes Brewing, a bar and brewery with food by The Meat Hook. Threes Brewing takes up the ground floor.  It’s a very large, very open, and very loud space–we wouldn’t dream of going there for a beer on a busy night, as we’ve walked by and heard the noise level. But Ninth Street Espresso is open during the day and occupies a separate space near the front of the building. When you walk in, turn to your right and climb the small stairway.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

At the top of the stairs you will see the service counter.  Ninth Street Espresso doesn’t have a long menu. Rathe, it lists just four coffee options: hot coffee, cold coffee, espresso, and espresso with milk. Tell them what you like–we are partial to cortados–and they’ll get you the right combination of espresso and milk.

Along with really good coffee, there are plenty of places to sit. There’s a small space near the counter with a couple of small tables and a sunny window. Walk through to the back and there’s a roomy space with six tables, plenty of chairs, and an unused upright piano with a sign reading “Please do not touch piano,” which was fine by us.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

There was music playing in the background throughout our visit. And if you were a Dylan fan, it would have been your lucky day. The volume was a hair louder than we would have liked, but as the reading shows the overall noise level was perfectly fine.  We think Ninth Street Espresso offers excellent coffee in a very comfortable space and recommend it.

HOURS

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

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

LOCATION

Street (betw. 3rd and 4th Avenue), Brooklyn, NY 11217

WEBSITE

Ninth Street Espresso

Four & Twenty Blackbirds — 72.3 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Four & Twenty Blackbirds is a well-regarded pie shop located in Gowanus, Brooklyn.  It offers whole pies, pies by the slice, cakes, and beverages.  We’ve read about their pies and have wanted to try them for some time, so we stopped by for a slice. We tried the Black Bottom Oat.  It was pretty good, not great, but obviously freshly made and satisfying.

We noticed on entering that most of the customers were by themselves, staring intently at their laptops. That many wore earbuds was a not-so-subtle warning about the noise level.  Namely, that there was unnecessary music playing.  Still, the music wasn’t uncomfortably loud.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

There was only one table of two engaging in conversation. They stood out since they were the only talkers, though there was another customer who spent the entirety of her visit with her phone glued to her ear, laughing out loud in random bursts.  She was jarring.  We have a difficult time understanding people who treat a public space like it’s their living room, but it seems to be happening with greater frequency. One frustrating thing is that the people who chat on phones in public spaces almost invariably are louder than people engaging in conversation in the flesh. It’s not the fault of the place, of course.  Just an observation that the space attracts all sorts.

One other soound stood out during our visit to Four & Twenty Blackbirds–the bean grinder used to make each espresso-based drink.  This grinder was particularly annoying, and it added a  high-pitched whine to the soundscape.  That said, we found the overall noise level to be mostly tolerable, but If you are coming here to work, dont forget your earbuds.

HOURS

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

Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

LOCATION

Avenue (at the corner of 8th Street), Brooklyn, NY 11215

WEBSITE

Four & Twenty Blackbirds

A&E Supply Co. — 78.4 decibels CLOSED

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

A & E Supply Co. is a hipster rbutcher shop/estaurant/bar in Gowanus, Brooklyn. It’s an attractive spot, with a “butcher shop” (i.e., small display of meat for sale) by the front door and a large open dining area with an open kitchen at the end.  A bar runs half the length of the space, and there is no separation between the bar and dining space.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We stopped by at lunch and were joined by maybe three people sitting silently at their tables.  All were staring at their laptops, but we noted that two were sporting headphones. That is almost always a bad sign, because it suggests that they couldn’t concentrate on their work because of the soundscape.  And neither could we.

A & E Supply is a very live space with lots of glass, metal, and tile.  It’s almost as if someone handed the designer a brief that asked for a space that would reflect every sound. The end result is that we were seated in an attractive space marred by its soundscape, and once again the music volume was a big factor–it was entirely too loud.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We raced through our meal to get out as quickly as possible.  Something that wasn’t difficult given that our order–a decent if overpriced sandwich–was definitely on the small side.   A small roast beef sandwich for $9, with no sides or garnish.  Someone should remind the owners that they are located in Gowanus, not TriBeCa.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

More importantly, the noise level simply wasn’t tolerable.  Yes the space felt pretty live, but the decibel reading was absolutely attributable to the music volume and the staff shouting over it–and yes, the staff was yelling at each other to be heard. If it’s this loud during a mostly empty lunch service, dinner must be horrific.  Which is a shame, because it is an attractive space and the food was tasty if less than filing.  We suggest that you avoid.

HOURS

Closed Mondays

Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday: 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Friday and Saturday: 7:00 a.m. through 2:00 a.m.

Kitchen stops at 10:00 pm. during the week, 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday

LOCATION

(at the corner of 15th Street), Brooklyn, NY 11215

WEBSITE

A & E Supply Co.