Jefferson Market Garden — 74.1 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Jefferson Market Garden is similar to another of our favorite outdoor spaces, Jackson Square, in that it is an absolutely beautiful, well-tended, and well-loved park, but it suffers from its location.  Located on the site of a former women’s prison, the garden is bordered by 6th Avenue and Greenwich Avenue and is plagued with constant traffic, unrelenting horn honking, and never-ending construction noise of some sort or another.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Our visit was short.  It started off louder than it ended due to a utility truck that was idling very loudly nearby.  There’s a fire house about a block away, so loud sirens are common (one returning fire truck made its way back home during our visit), as are those purposefully loud motorcycles.  There wasn’t one silent moment, not a minute of calm during our visit.

That said, Jefferson Market Garden is still worth visiting.  The plantings are lovely, with bursts of color throughout, and fragrance has not been ignored.  We could smell the roses whenever a breeze swept through.   So come and enjoy the lush plantings and riot of color.  Just don’t expect a peaceful visit, because you won’t get it.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The garden is open when a member is present, which generally is not a problem during the season (April through November).  Some bench seating is provided but is often occupied as the garden is very popular.

HOURS

Tuesday through Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to dusk (from April through October), weather permitting

Closed Mondays

LOCATION

70 A Greenwich Avenue (betw. 6th Avenue and W. 10th Street), New York, NY 10011

WEBSITE

Jefferson Market Garden

O’Hara’s Restaurant and Pub — 78.6 decibels

Can you see all the flat screen tvs?

Can you see all the flat screen tvs?

A reading of 78.6 decibels insured a harried lunch.  While the waitstaff were friendly and efficient, there is no compelling reason to eat here.  The space is designed for noise: mounted televisions set to CNBC, loud patrons, and absolutely unnecessary background music that featured lesser-known numbers by one-hit wonder 80’s bands.  Why?

If you are visiting the 9/11 memorial, or just dropped some dough at Century 21, suddenly find yourself ravenously hungry, and are a huge Survivor fan, this is your place.   For everyone else, avoid.  Food is barely adequate American bar fare (fried appetizers, burgers, wraps, etc.).

HOURS

Tuesday through Thursday: 11:00 am to 12:00 a.m.

Friday through Monday: 11:00 am to 2:00 a.m.

LOCATION

120 Cedar Street (betw. Greenwich Street and Trinity Place), NY, NY 10006

WEBSITE 

O’Hara’s Restaurant and Pub

City Winery (the Barrel Room) — 83.7 decibels

City Winery Barrel Room

City Winery Barrel Room

It was a Monday night.  The restaurant was less than half full.  And the decibel reading averaged 83.7 decibels over one hour, twelve minutes, and 48 seconds.

City Winery has two restaurants: one is in a performance space and the other (the “Barrel Room”) is a restaurant/bar in an adjoining building.  We had our meal in the Barrel Room, the restaurant sans performance space.   But you wouldn’t have known that by the meter reading, as the space was really really loud.  We repeat:  83.7 decibels.  On a Monday night.  With more than half the tables empty.

There was absolutely no reason for the place to be this loud.  Avoid.

HOURS

Sunday and Monday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (bar closes at 11:00 p.m.)

Tuesday through Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (bar closes at 12:00 a.m.)

Saturday: 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (bar closes at 12:00 a.m.)

LOCATION

Street (betw. Spring and Vandam Streets), New York, NY 10013

WEBSITE

City Winery | New York City

Jackson Square Park — 73.3 decibels

20160321_120717_resizedThis pretty little square is actually a triangle that bisects 13th Street and is bordered by 8th Avenue to the east, Greenwich Avenue to the west, and Horatio Street to the south.  It’s an adorable space that is sadly marred by street noise–loud idling trucks, honking taxis, and impatient drivers.  The trees and shrubs can only block so much noise, but it’s a losing battle as there is constant frenzied traffic around the square, at least during the week.

And so, in the end, Jackson Square Park is merely tolerable for a quick respite.  This is a damn shame, as it is clear that the park is well loved by area denizens who thoughtfully and tastefully decorate the park for holidays and otherwise keep it in tiptop shape.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square

That said, the reading was taken around noon on a busy Friday.  As we recall, the pace is a bit less frantic on the weekends–we will go back to take a reading on a future weekend to confirm.  For now, if the weather is nice,  traffic isn’t hellish, and you are looking for a place to rest your feet in the West Village, check out Jackson Square Park.  It really is a pretty green space.

HOURS

Dawn to 10:00 p.m. every day

LOCATION

At the conflux of 8th Avenue, Greenwich Avenue, and Horatio Street, New York, NY 10011

WEBSITE

Jackson Square Alliance

Peter McManus Cafe — 65.3 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

What a pleasant surprise we had when we ducked into the Peter McManus Cafe, an Irish pub located in Chelsea, for a quick midweek lunch.   The pub, which was founded in 1932,  has been in its current location since 1936.   We can vouch that it looks like very little has been done to the interior since that time (which we think is a good thing).  The cafe has a bar in the front that is lined with stools, with a few tables and two or three flat screen tvs playing the game du jour.  In the back there is a dining room that is open to the bar area, but somewhat shielded from bar noise.

When we arrived all the tvs were on in the bar and dining room, but only one tv in the bar had the volume turned on.  This was not a problem at all, as it could easily be heard by the patrons sitting at the bar but was merely a background hum in the dining area, where we had our meal. With a decibel reading of 65.3, this was one of the most peaceful lunches we have had in a long time.

There is no question that the place was so quiet because is wasn’t crowded. In fact, the bar was only half full and the dining room was mostly empty.  That said, we think lunches generally should be comfortable, particularly in the dining space.  Our suspicion was confirmed by our friendly and efficient waitress who said that lunches tend to be quiet unless there was a big game on tv.  She noted that the space tends to be louder at dinner, but added that the jukebox in the front did not play in the dining area.   And no surprise, she confirmed that the place will be packed and noisy anytime there is a big game.

Peter McManus Cafe felt more like a pub with food than a restaurant, but they turned out a very freshly made and tasty club sandwich.  There are at least a dozen beers on tap and another dozen in bottles, plus an extensive list of whiskies from around the world.   More importantly, the place felt like a real neighborhood bar, and it was clear that the patrons lining the bar were regulars.

If you want to enjoy a beer and a burger in relative peace, head on over to the Peter McManus Cafe.   Neighborhood bars are a real rarity in Manhattan.  Enjoy this one while it’s still around (just don’t come during the Superbowl).

HOURS

Monday through Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 am.

Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.

LOCATION

WEBSITE

Peter McManus Cafe

Bengal Tiger — 78.2 decibels

Bengal Tiger is a decent no-frills Indian restaurant located in midtown.  Ordering takes place at the counter, but it’s not a typical steam table affair.  Rather, the food comes out from a concealed kitchen.  Our meal was good, not great, but it was filling and inexpensive for its location (a little under $10 for two entrees, rice, and naan).

The sound level was manageable by the counter but loud where we were seated (near the exit) due to unnecessarily loud music and three loud customers.  As soon as two of the loud customers left things noticeably improved, even though the last loud customer was exuberant and occasionally squealed with laughter.   This cannot be helped and was not the fault of the restaurant, but the loud music made screaming (and squealing) inevitable.

Bengal Tiger was never peaceful or serene, and the noise level only improved after the loud couple  left, leaving the room a lot more tolerable and allowing for conversation without much strain.  Because it offers good food at a great price for its location, Bengal Tiger is going to be busy at lunch time and one should expect that it will be fairly loud.  Your best bet is to visit during off hours or take your food to go.

HOURS

Sunday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

LOCATION

Street (betw. 5th and 6th Avenues, closer to 6th), New York, NY 11019

WEBSITE

Bengal Tiger

 

Pies ‘n’ Thighs — 85.9 decibels CLOSED

85.9 decibels!

It is with sadness that we must advise that you avoid Pies ‘n’ Thighs. We came here once many months ago and had a lovely meal in a relatively quiet space, but we came early–10:00 a.m.–and the waiter lowered the music on his own without request!  Our most recent visit, however, was painful.  The counterman who greeted everyone as they entered was LOUD–someone get that guy a hearing test, stat!–as was the music and most of the other customers.  Add in the loud design troika (subway tiles, glass, and stainless steel) and an open kitchen and you are left with an unpleasant aural assault as you eat, which is a real shame because the fried chicken is great and the chicken biscuit is sublime.  Only enter if the place is empty or if you are buying for takeaway.

HOURS

Weekday: Breakfast/lunch 9:00 a.m. to 4:00p.m. | Dinner 5:00p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Weekend: Brunch 10:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. | Dinner 5:00p.m. to 12:00a.m.

LOCATION

43 Canal Street (betw. Ludlow & Orchard), New York, NY 10002

WEBSITE

Pies ‘n’ Thighs