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6 amazing things city dwellers miss out on

Nov. 1, 2010, 12:19 p.m.
The sky is reflected in the water of a lake.

Photo: moonjazz/Flickr

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Peace and quiet

New Yorkers boast of a city that never sleeps, but one of the coolest places on Earth can also be one of the noisiest. The average noise level in Times Square is a whopping 80 decibels. For comparison’s sake, a whisper is measured at 20 decibels and normal conversation is around 65.

Other cities are equally noisy: Las Vegas’ Strip averages 68 decibels and San Francisco’s Union Square is 65. A quiet suburb is far quieter (50) and rural areas, by comparison, are practically silent (30) — unless there’s a vacuum cleaner running, which can ratchet noise levels back to 70 decibels. But even that doesn’t compare to the city subways, with a noise level of 102 decibels.

After a while, that noise takes a toll, leading to hearing loss, stress and hypertension.