February 1, 2013
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: Brooklyn, the most populous of New York City’s five boroughs, has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for tolerating noise from car stereos, loud trucks, sidewalk parties, and block fairs. As far as peace and quiet in Brooklyn: Fuggedaboutit!!!
Boris Kantor, a resident of Brooklyn, notes that “the New York Police Department does virtually nothing to prevent street noise. Other city agencies are also very passive. They do little or nothing to enforce the city’s noise ordinances.”
Kantor observes that many people think that noise control in New York City is impossible: “So many people believe that noise from subway trains, police cars, and ambulances is just a necessary evil. Strangely enough, much still can be done to reduce overall level of noise by simply imposing stricter rules on boom cars and radio players and by actually just implementing those existing rules. That also means issuing fines along with continuously monitoring violations. I will say that violators get away with what they do because nobody (not police or anyone else) want to mess with them. Why not issue a ticket to violators? The law is on the books. Let’s work on implementation!”
Kantor notes that “the other issue with noise pollution is that noise produced by residential building’s mechanical systems. Many residents in New York City suffer from incorrectly installed or improperly insulated equipment. Current city laws allow very high decibels that can cause many health issues to people who are subjected to this environment day after day. Persistent non-stop noise in one’s room can raise blood pressure, cause sleep deprivation and heart problems. I will work with local government in improving and changing this situation in Brooklyn.”
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, noted that “over the years, we have received scores of noise complaints from people in Brooklyn who are assaulted by noise from boom cars, loud stores, and hotels with roof top bars.”
One such complaint came from a new Brooklyn resident, who wrote: “I recently purchased a small building in Brooklyn and I really love my neighborhood. The only thing I don’t like about my neighborhood is the fact that we have a competition-level boom car guy that lives next door and he “tunes” his car almost every day. His friends come over to join him. It’s a hub of boom car noise on our block. It’s really disturbing.”
The Brooklynite noted that he has ”talked to this guy a number of times and he is actually a pretty nice guy, except for the fact that he feels that he has the right to work on “tuning” his boom car almost every day. He says it’s a free country. I don’t disagree –but he’s taking away people’s freedom from the terror of his sound system. Given that I work at home and what I do take a lot of concentration, his ‘right’ to make money in competition car sound shows is taking away my right to work in the privacy of my own home.”
All this noise has a very negative effect on this individual’s health and well-being: “The noise wakes up my young baby and causes my family to not be able to sleep or enjoy a movie after a hard day’s work. The noisemaker said that he’s been here for over 20 years, so he can do whatever he wants, and he doesn’t care what any of the neighbors think. The neighborhood is very quickly improving in all other respects. Many new buildings have been built in the last two years and filled with nice respectful people. More affluent people are moving into the neighborhood from Manhattan. His response to my wife, me and our 5 month old baby is –‘go back to Manhattan.’”
According to the noise victim, “I’ve been to the 83rd police precinct and the best thing they could suggest is to call 311 — which is NYC’s non-emergency response line. It does nothing. I’ve complained about 10 times with no result. I had one set of tenants already move out, not wholly, but party because they couldn’t stand the noise. Fortunately, the new set of tenants is a little more patient and spent more of their time out and about.”
In spite of the ever-present noise, this individual is not deterred: “Clearly, I’m not the only one on the block that is annoyed by this. I’ve talked to many people on the block that are really disturbed by it, so I know I could gather up around 300, or more, signatures to petition the Community Officer or something like that. We live in a very dense neighborhood comprised of two to four- story buildings. I estimate he’s affecting the lives of about 500 people, and he thinks it’s his right. I really think that if the people in our neighborhood can get together, we might be able to change this situation.”
Noise Free America is a national non-profit organization devoted to noise reduction. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include New York City motorcycle clubs; Rochester, New York; and Washington, DC.