Elizabeth Street Garden — 65.7 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Looking for a really peaceful enclave in Nolita?  Then run, don’t walk, to Elizabeth Street Garden.  The garden’s future is uncertain, so use its now and help those who are trying to preserve it.   The garden is the biggest green space in Nolita and, unsurprisingly, it is under threat of development.  Unlike other green spaces, Elizabeth Street Garden is not a city park though the land is city-owned.  We hope that it is preserved, because it’s a calm oasis in the middle of busy downtown Manhattan.  It also stands out among neighborhood green spaces because of all the statues that are dotted throughout.  At first the effect suggests a lack of restraint, but it very quickly feels charmingly quirky.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The garden is obviously well loved and used.  There aren’t many chairs or benches, but people make do and have impromptu picnics during their lunch breaks. Some traffic noise intrudes, but it’s more than manageable as the garden runs between Elizabeth to Mott Streets, mid-block. Neither street is heavily trafficked, so there was no honking horns, sirens, or motorcycles during our visit.

Crowded yet calm, Elizabeth Street Garden is definitely worth a visit.

HOURS

10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day, weather permitting

LOCATION

Elizabeth Street (betw. Prince and Spring Streets), New York, NY 10012

WEBSITE

Elizabeth Street Garden

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