60 Wall Street (Deutsche Bank Building) — 66.9 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The lobby of 60 Wall Street, the American headquarters of Deutsche Bank, is a privately owned public space (POPS).  A POPS is an “amenity provided and maintained by a developer for public use, in exchange for additional floor area.”  Amenities typically are outdoor plazas or seating areas that may be used by the general public without charge, but occasionally, as here, the space is indoors and climate controlled.

During an early afternoon visit, the lobby of 60 Wall Street registered a positively peaceful 66.9 decibels.  Even though every inch of the lobby is clad in stone, glass, or some other hard surface, peace is maintained due to the high vaulted atrium.  The lobby is much louder during the morning and evening rush as employees stream into the space and head to the elevators, but the space was not empty during our visit.  In fact, three separate tour groups were assembling in the lobby, and many of the tables and chairs were occupied.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

The lobby has a Starbucks, newsstand, and a deli/cafe available for food and drinks, but you are not required to purchase from them to sit at the tables.  One public toilet is also provided, but use it only if absolutely necessary as it can best be described as challenging.  The rest of the space is very well maintained.

HOURS

Covered pedestrian space open 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. | Arcade open 24 hours

LOCATION

60 Wall Street (betw. William and Pearl), NY, NY 10005

WEBSITE

60 Wall Street

Three Lives & Company — 61.9 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Simply the best bookstore in New York City.  It’s smaller than most, so it doesn’t have the same selection as a megastore, thank goodness.  None of the tat, just a great selection of fiction and nonfiction classics and newly published books.  There is a small but excellent collection of cookbooks, and a wonderfully curated selection of books about New York City.  Most importantly, Three Lives looks and sounds like a bookstore should: quietly creaky wooden floors, very low and appropriate background music, small niches where you can sit and preview your potential purchase, and staff and customers (usually) talking at a whisper.  No surprise that it registered at a calming 61.9 decibels.   A must visit for the book lover.

HOURS

Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Monday and Tuesday: 12:00 p.m. to 8:00

Wednesday through Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

LOCATION

154 W. 10th Street (at the corner of Waverly Place), New York, NY 10014

WEBSITE

Three Lives & Company

Kinokuniya New York — 61 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Bliss.  Kinokuniya is a Japanese-based retailer selling books, magazines, and Japanese pens and stationery.  Those of you who love to try out new pens and pencils already know that Japanese stationery products are compelling, and Kinokuniya has an excellent selection that is unmatched in the city.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

That said, what makes the store so delightful is seeing the interesting array of products displayed in such a peaceful space.  Books and magazines are on the ground floor, stationery and novelties are in the basement. Give yourself some time to look around, because there is a lot more on display than you may first appreciate.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

This delightful store is located directly across from hectic Bryant park, a beautiful park marred by constant, jarring street noise.  Check out the park and then escape to Kinokuniya for some peace.

HOURS

Monday through Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

LOCATION

(betw. 40th and 41st Streets), New York, NY 10018

WEBSITE

Kinokuniya US

The Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields — 68.1 to 71.2 decibels

Photo credit: quietcitymap

Photo credit: quietcitymap

The gardens at St. Luke in the Fields are a beautiful and peaceful hideaway in the West Village.  Narrow walkways meander through the gardens, and there are plenty of benches to accommodate visitors.  The gardens are rarely empty, but they are quiet. Signs are posted throughout asking visitors to refrain from cell phone use and visitors actually exercise self-control.  The noisiest section of the gardens is on the Barrow Street (south) side which gets more street noise; it registered at 71.2 decibels.  The quietest section is in the back (west side) of the garden, which registered at a peaceful 68.1 decibels.

HOURS

Monday through Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to dusk

Sunday: 8:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m.

Close on holidays

LOCATION

487 Hudson Street (betw. Barrow and Christopher), New York, NY 10014

WEBSITE

The Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields

Round K Cafe — 71.5 decibels

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

We loved the physical space of Round K Cafe, which was matched by great service and very nice coffee.  When you enter you will see a takeaway space in the front where you can order a beverage and a sweet or savory treat.  The takeaway space  is separated from seating in the back by not one but two sets of drapes, which helps to keep the noise from the espresso maker and takeaway chatter from entering the back seating area.

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

During our visit the space was almost serene.  It would have been perfect except for one couple–they both were loud and they did not stop talking, even while they were eating.   When the male got up to use the restroom we noticed that our decibel meter, which continually averages the decibel reading, dropped by five points!  In fact, it was so quiet we could hear him flush and leave the restroom without the benefit of stopping at the sink to wash his obviously filthy hands.  Together again, they were insufferable (which was not the cafe’s fault at all, of course)

We only ordered a coffee and kept our visit short because of them, but note that there were other customers in the room who were quiet.  Some Sinatra played softly In the background, and we realized that if that one couple wasn’t there the space would have been perfect.  Which is why we intend to follow up this visit with another in the near future.

The website indicates that there may be events scheduled occasionally in the space, so you may want to check their schedule to avoid it (or join in).  Round K Cafe is cash only, so hit the ATM before you visit.

HOURS

Monday through Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

LOCATION

reet (betw. Delancey and Broome Streets), New York, NY 10002

WEBSITE

Round K Cafe

Patisserie Claude – 72.3 decibels

Photo credit: quietcitymap

Photo credit: quietcitymap

Claude retired years ago, but this small French patisserie is still going strong (the current owner was trained by Claude).  You wouldn’t call Patisserie Claude pretty, but you don’t come here for the decor.  The patisserie is noted for its outstanding croissants and pain au chocolat, but you can’t go wrong with anything here.  The pastries, cookies, quiches, tarts, and cakes are all first-rate (the hazelnut buttercream cake is particularly fabulous).  Coffee and tea are also available.

There are only a few tables available should you wish to eat your purchase in situ.  But you may have no option other than taking your things to go.  Fortunately, Sheridan Square is nearby, so, weather permitting, you can have your coffee and pain au chocolat al fresco.  Because the space is small, it can occasionally get a bit busy and crowded, with customers waiting to purchase hovering over those enjoying their purchases in the shop.  That said,  except for the Spanish music playing softly in the background and the occasional burst of noise coming from the espresso machine, the place is generally peaceful.

If you love pain au chocolat, Patisserie Claude is not to be missed.

HOURS

8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day

LOCATION

WEBSITE

Patisserie Claude