Joe Coffee (Lexington Avenue) — 76.1 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The Lexington Avenue location of Joe Coffee was crowded when we arrived.  A long table with stools placed around took up most of the space; a ledge ran along a wall providing some additional seating.  The space was tight as a line of people waiting to order snaked around the seating area, making for a less than pleasant experience.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

This location of Joe is a very live space.  It was tolerable but not comfortable.  One annoying customer who droned on to anyone and everyone was distracting, and in a small space there is no escape.  Unnecessarily loud music did not help.

If you really need coffee and you’re standing on Lexington Avenue between 74th and 75th Street outside of Joe, sure, consider it.  But if you want a calm, comfortable spot to enjoy that coffee, we suggest keep on walking.

HOURS

Monday through Saturday: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Sunday: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

LOCATION

nue (betw. 74th and 75th Streets), New York, NY 10021

WEBSITE

Joe on Lex

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

622 3rd Avenue — 66.8 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The indoor portion of this privately owned public space (POPS) is tolerable, barely.   A POPS is “an amenity provided and maintained by a developer for public use, in exchange for additional floor area.”  POPS can vary in quality, but the covered public spaces tend to offer more amenities, like cafes and public restrooms, and they tend to be better maintained.

The covered POPS at 622 3rd Avenue is, essentially, the lobby of an office building, and it is not used much by the public for good reason.  There were some stone benches for the public to use, but the absense of softer surfaces or materials–everything was glass or stone–made the space an echo chamber.   The space was so live that the sudden chatter of workers leaving the lobby elevators was startling.  So this public space could be useful if one had to escape a sudden storm, but 622 3rd Avenue is not a place to linger or enjoy.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The nearby outdoor POPS looked nice, though, and there are tables and chairs for public use in the  adjacent court yard.  There is also a second level terrace that’s the public may use, and an elevator is provided for access by the physically disabled.

Unlike other covered POPS, the public space at 622 3rd Avenue does not provide public bathrooms.   In short, the indoor POPS will serve in a pinch but it is less than inviting.

HOURS

Monday through Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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

Landscaped Terrace w/ access for disabled open same hours from April 1st through November 1st, but weekdays only from November 2nd through March 31st (winter hours)

LOCATION

622 3rd Avenue (at 40th Street), New York, NY 10017

WEBSITE

APOPS/MASNYC’s review of 622 3rd Avenue

Pizzetteria Brunetti — 75.7 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Pizzetteria Brunetti is a reasonably priced restaurant located in the West Village.  We visited at lunch time and took advantage of their $10 lunch options, which included pizzas, salads, and sandwiches.  We opted for a pizza and salad and it was more than enough food for two people.  Throw in a couple of glasses of wine, and you can dine leisurely for about $20 each.

Our visit would have been perfect but the space is a bit live and there was unnecessary background music. The volume wasn’t oppressive, but we could hear people trying to speak over the music.   Once again, the music selection did not add anything to the experience other than frustration.  Throw in one or two louder than average people and the meter soon crossed 75 decibels.   In the end, though, the space wasn’t so loud that we regretted staying, but we were not entirely comfortable either.

That said, the food was good and the prices are great for the West Village.  We noticed a small garden in the back.  It wasn’t open during our Friday lunch time visit, but we were told that it is usually open in the evenings.

We can recommend that you visit Pizzetteria Brunetti for lunch but suggest that you proceed with caution for dinner, particularly if the space is full.  The back garden should be a safer space, however, as most restaurants try to keep the noise level down so that they don’t have to deal with complaints from nearby residents.

HOURS

Sunday through Thursday: 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

LOCATION

626 Hudson Street (at Jane Street), New York, NY 10014

WEBSITE

Pizzetteria Brunetti

 

Craft Bar — 73.6 decibels CLOSED

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We sat at the bar at Craft Bar for a quick late lunch.  The noise level during our visit was fine, mostly due to the high ceilings, but the space felt very live.  We weren’t surprised, because with the exception of the wooden floors, every surface was hard.  As usual, unnecessary background music added a layer of sound.  Even if the music had been lowered or turned off the space still would have been pingy and live, but it would have been more tolerable.  And then there was a periodic element of noise that really got our attention: the deep rumbling of the subway racing beneath our feet.  The sound and vibration could not be ignored no matter how fleeting.  We have been in spaces where you can hear and feel the subway passing below, but this was louder than we’ve experienced before.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Our nosh at the bar was perfectly tolerable, but when we stopped by the main dining room to see what it was like, we  found it to be very noticeably louder.  Given that the dining room was half empty at the time, we believe it would be uncomfortably loud when packed.  We  recommend that you avoid the dining room unless it’s fairly empty and eat at the bar instead.  The bar service was first rate.

HOURS

Monday through Wednesday: 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Thursday and Friday: 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

LOCATION

(betw. 19th and 20th Streets), New York, NY 10003

WEBSITE

Craftbar